Heart-defect boy starts pre-school
By Maurice Garvey
A YOUNG boy with a critical congenital heart defect, celebrated a major milestone this week – starting his first day of pre-school at St Michael’s NS in Ballyfermot.
Tristan Best Kinsella (3), has Hypoplastic left-heart syndrome (HLHS), which means the left side of the heart never developed in the womb, and the right side of the heart does all the work.
The rare condition means young Tristan has already undergone three major operations, is on daily medication for the rest of his life, and will have to go to London for heart and lung transplant surgery at some stage in the future.
When he was born, Tristan’s parents were told by doctors that he may not live – but the brave youngster has battled his way forward, and now is enjoying pre-school adventures with his new school friends this week.
Proud mother Lindsey Best Kinsella (35), admits it has “been hard” for the family over the last three years and seven months, but they are determined to give him “the best chance of life.”
The mother-of-two is trying to raise awareness of the rare condition, and expressed thanks to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, St Michael’s, and parents support group CHD Warriors for their support.
Palmerstown Woods resident Lindsey said: “When the doctor said there was a problem (at five months pregnant) – our whole world came crashing down.
“He’s had three operations – one at four days old, another at five months, and another at two years and one month.”
The operations are specific procedures for HLHS infants, who require multiple surgeries in a particular order to increase blood flow to the body, and bypass poor functioning of the left side of the heart.
“It’s an illness that can’t be cured,” said Lindsey, who cited an exhausting list of medical requirements Tristan needs to take daily.
She continued: “To look at him, he’s not a sick child. He’ll never be fully healthy, but he’s getting the best chance of life.
“The last three years and seven months have been hard, but we have to do the best for our own flesh and blood.”
Despite the many challenges, Lindsey insists: “We are one of the lucky families. We’ve had great support from CHD Warriors, Our Lady’s cardiac unit and my own family have been great.
“They looked after my eldest Keelin (7), when we were in and out of hospital. St Michael’s are treating Tristan like he is another child, which is great.
“Keelin had it tough – separated from the family for long periods when we were in hospital. She’s had to grow up quick. But she said if Tristan is crying in school, that she will pop down from second class, and make him feel better.”
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