Nashville mom brings awareness to pediatric heart transplants

Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 6:07 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Nashville mother is bringing awareness to pediatric heart transplants by sharing her family’s journey.

“You know the first half of our pregnancy was just like anybody else’s pregnancy where they got dreams for their child,” said Maleah Stephens.

Stephens’s journey began in 2019 when she got pregnant with her son Townes. During the 20-week ultrasound, they learned he would be born with a congenital heart defect.

“About six weeks before he was due, he also had something called coronary fistula that was present, and it showed in the Echo. They said the Echos are great because they give a lot of information, but things aren’t always fully clear until the baby is actually born, “explained Stephens.

The day after Townes was born, Stephens says they were told he needed a heart transplant to survive. It was a tough journey but today Townes is two years old and thriving.

“He was born on February 6th and then the pandemic started about six weeks into our stay. Then he received a heart. He was actually the first transplant baby to go home during COVID,” stated Stephens.

As advocates, the Stephens family has even partnered with Enduring Hearts, the only non-profit organization in the country solely dedicated to raising awareness and funding research to extend the longevity of pediatric heart transplants.

“If I had been born with what my son was born with I wouldn’t have lived. I believe the amount of progress and innovation that is going to occur in my son’s lifetime is amazing,” said Stephens.

Click for more on how you can get involved.