MOUNT HOPE, AL (WAFF) - Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a birth defect which restricts blood flow through the heart. One young patient in the Mount Hope area is waiting on a heart transplant.
1-year-old Gannon Potts takes center stage with his mom, but he was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
"It's there, but it's so underdeveloped, they can't use it," said his mother, Racheal Bryant.
The heart has a tough time pumping oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. Bryant was told Gannon would need three surgeries within the first year and a half of his young life. He already had two before our visit.
She said his ordeal began before he was born.
"I was 27 weeks, and they couldn't get a good picture of his heart," she said.
A few specialists later, and the prognosis was grim.
"She told me he wouldn't make it past birth," said Bryant.
She said she was very afraid and very angry because of her son's condition.
"I gave it all to God. And I prayed like I'd never prayed before," she said.
Even before her son was born, Bryant became a quick study about the condition and the surgeries he would endure.
"They were expecting when he was born to have kinds of problems and not be able to live without the oxygen at all. When he was born, you couldn't tell anything was wrong with him. He was the cutest, sweetest little baby," she said.
A few days after birth the first surgery tried to increase blood flow to the lungs. The second was to increase blood flow to other parts of his body.
The next step is to have a heart catheterization. This will give doctors a clearer picture. But there is an even bigger procedure this baby must eventually endure.
"He needs a heart transplant. He won't make it to his third surgery. He's not strong enough to keep his own heart," Bryant said.
She said doctors have prepared her along the way.
"They told me there's not a life expectancy on a child like Gannon," she said.
But that doesn't stop this young mother from having the type of dreams for her son that every mother does.
"I would love to see him, like, graduate from school and all the school events," Bryant said.
She holds onto those dreams as Gannon's journey continues.
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