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In 2008, soon-to-be parents Tracie and Sue received a call letting them know the child they were to foster (and eventually adopt) had been born at only 33 weeks. When they met little Elijah, he was hooked up to a feeding tube and struggling with his oxygen levels. A week later, experts at the Stollery diagnosed him with several holes in his heart and Tetralogy of Fallot, meaning a valve in his heart was too narrow and he’d need surgery in the near future. In the meantime, Tracie and Sue were able to take Elijah home after spending just a few weeks at the Stollery.

When Elijah was eight months old, he was healthy enough to have his first open-heart surgery. While his surgery had many complications, he recovered incredibly well and went home much sooner than expected.

Elijah grew to be an active young boy, but in 2015, he was having trouble keeping up at hockey practice. His moms took him to the Stollery, where they learned their son would need a second open-heart surgery to repair a failing valve. This surgery took longer than expected, but it went great with Elijah recovering at home just six days later.

At a routine checkup in early 2020, Elijah’s family learned his valve would need to be replaced. Thanks to advancements in children’s health care, Elijah was able to have a catheter procedure instead of a third open-heart surgery, which was a safer and less invasive option.

While Elijah’s heart will continue to be monitored for the rest of his life, thanks to the Stollery, he gets to play hockey and do all the things he loves to do. His parents are grateful to have a world-class children’s hospital right in their own backyard.

It was a terrifying experience, but being at a world-class facility made it so much easier, knowing that he was in the best hands possible.
– Sue, Elijah's mom

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