Walking for a better heart

News Tribune | Bob Watson

Participants in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk make their way around the walking trail Saturday at Jefferson City's Memorial Park during the annual heart health awareness event Photo by Kile Brewer.

When Janice Markway was five months pregnant with her fourth child, doctors said the baby had only three chambers in her heart — when there are supposed to be four.

So, just 6½ weeks after her birth on Sept. 16, 2006, Tessa Markway underwent what doctors "were hoping (would be) a series of three surgeries to correct her heart," Janice explained Saturday morning. "But, they almost lost her after the first surgery.

"They still wanted to try the second surgery — but after doing the heart catheterization, they almost lost her (again), and they said her body was just not strong enough to undergo another surgery.

"So, that’s when they decided the heart transplant was her only hope."

Not quite 8 months old, Tessa got a new heart.

When Keri Heimericks was 20 weeks pregnant, doctors told her the baby she was carrying "had an enlargement in his heart," which doctors later would determine was "a complete hole in his heart that, no way was it going to grow back together." Continue reading