At just 7-weeks-old Rosemary “Rosie” Ryan’s heart began to fail. With no warning signs and no prior diagnosis of a congenital heart defect, Rosie was transferred to Lurie Children’s (then Children’s Memorial) and listed for a heart transplant. Her mom Sara recalls, “We knew nothing prior to this of any heart disease. It was horribly scary and shocking to say the least.”
Sara continues, “We did our best to keep our hopes up while waiting for a new heart. We waited 102 days. Not knowing when the news would come was almost unbearable at times.” The wait was over on Mother’s Day, May 8, 2010. Rosie received her new heart. After the transplant, Sara remembers, “I was finally in charge of my own baby, all on our own. When we were finally discharged, we didn’t take a moment of ‘firsts’ for granted. Her first time in her crib, her first time in her high chair, her first time on a walk around the neighborhood.”
Today, Rosie, 7, and her family continue to celebrate her “firsts.” “She’s a fun little girl with a big personality,” says Sara. “She loves playing with her little sister, Margo, dancing, playing in the park and with friends, swimming, her cat stuffed animals, eating candy and fruit snacks. She keeps us on our toes!”
Rosie also loves to help others. This year in honor of her heart transplant anniversary, “Heartiversary,” Rosie decided to organize a toy drive for all the kids in the hospital that needed cheering up. With the help of her mom and dad, Rosie collected toys from friends and family and the response was overwhelming! In June, Rosie proudly delivered the van-full of toys she collected to Lurie Children’s. “Every day with Rosie is special but this year in particular it was extra special seeing Rosie give back to the hospital that gave us so much.”
The Heart Center at Lurie Children’s provides the highest quality care for patients with the most complex and serious heart conditions. As the region’s largest children’s heart center, we care for more patients with cardiac conditions than any other hospital in Illinois. Click here to learn more about Lurie Children’s Heart Center and Siragusa Transplant Center.