By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Just call her Super Sydney from now on!
Sydney Deaver, 2½, received her very own tiny superhero cape recently after her mom, Ashley Deaver, nominated her and raised enough money to snag a cape for Sydney and two other little superheroes from an organization called TinySuperheroes.
Sydney, who was just 5 months old when she received a new heart at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, looks adorable in the red cape, emblazoned with the letter S for Sydney.
Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Mark Turrentine performed the transplant after his young patient was diagnosed with Noonan syndrome, a disorder that can cause heart defects, when she was about 2 months old.
Her tiny heart was rapidly failing as her parents, Ashley and David, kept vigil by her bedside for months at Riley.
Today, Sydney is thriving. She loves splashing in a water table at home, playing outside and coloring, her mom said. She receives physical therapy at Riley’s East Washington Street outpatient clinic, and she continues monthly speech therapy at Riley to work on feeding issues. She sees cardiologist Dr. John Parent at Riley every three months.
Ashley said looking back at pictures from those long, hard days in the hospital, when she didn’t know if a heart would be found in time, brings back a lot of difficult emotions, but her daughter didn’t give up, so neither could she.
Post-transplant, Ashley was at her daughter’s bedside at Riley from 8:30 in the morning until 8:30 in the evening every day, watching her, holding her, reading to her and singing to her.
“I couldn’t imagine myself being anywhere else,” she said at the time. “Being here and seeing her little smiley face just makes me so happy.”
And now she can’t imagine anything more wonderful than being Sydney’s mother.
“She’s been through so much and showed us how much strength she has,” said Ashley, who describes Sydney as stubborn but always smiling.
Sydney celebrated her two-year transplant anniversary May 7.
Photos submitted and by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health visual journalist, email@example.com