Parents Of Toddler With Fatal Heart Defect Share Photos To Raise Awareness

The parents of a toddler born with a heart defect have shared tender photos of the family in hospital before her death, in a bid to raise awareness for their late daughter's heart condition.

Two-year-old Adalynn Grace Rogers, from Arlington, Kentucky, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare birth defect that prevents normal blood flow through the heart.

Adalynn passed away on 26 January just weeks after her second birthday, but before she did, a photographer documented the family's last moments together in snaps which have now been made public.

"It's another look at her life and what she went through," Adalynn's father Justin Rogers, 28, told People magazine. "They were our final moments with her."

Credit: The Rogers family
Credit: The Rogers family

One of the Rogers' four children, Adalynn underwent surgery at just two days old and was finally able to go home with her family when she was already two months old.

Although she could only eat through a feeding tube, Adalynn lived exactly as a normal baby would while she waited for a heart transplant, which was her only chance of surviving her condition.

"It was scary because we didn't know when or if it would come," said her mother, Kristi Rogers, also 28.

Unfortunately, Adalynn was admitted into hospital for internal bleeding on 23 January, before she suffered breathing difficulties after a scan and was left with severe brain damage.

Sadly the injury that Adalynn suffered meant that she was no longer eligible for a heart transplant and doctors could do nothing more for her.

"We were lost," Justin said. "We literally just found out there is nothing else that they could possibly do to save her. All the hope that we had built up was gone.

"It was just a question of how much time we had left with her before we had to turn off the machine."

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The family were put in touch with photographer Suha Dabit who runs the organisation World of Broken Hearts, a charity which raises awareness of heart defects like Adalynn's.

Dabit agreed to take pictures of the family at the hospital, turning up on 26 January to capture candid shots of the family's goodbyes before Adalynn died just three hours later.

"I knew how important this moment was," said Dabit. "It was very, very emotional."

Credit: Suha Dabit
Credit: Suha Dabit

Kristi and Justin said Adalynn was 'always smiling' when she was alive, and are now determined to do whatever they can to raise awareness of her condition.

The pair have already created a Facebook page to inform people about hypoplastic left heart syndrome - which affects one in 4,344 babies born in the United States each year - and encourage them to sign up as organ donors.

"We didn't know how common this condition is," says Justin, "and how little people know about it."

In the face of a tragedy like this, you have to admire the Rogers' bravery. Hopefully the work they have started will only add to Adalynn's memory.

Featured Image Credit: Suha Dabit

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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