Brennan Marasco

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"Our journey with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta started before Brennan was born. Brennan's heart defect was discovered several months into the pregnancy and we were able to meet the wonderful staff and tour the facilities at CHOA before Brennan was admitted as a patient.

"Brennan was born with Pulmonary Atresia which means his main pulmonary artery never developed. Without this artery there is no normal path for the blood to travel from his heart to his lungs to be oxygenated. Without surgery he would suffocate. Brennan was transported to CHOA’s Sibley Heart Center about 12 hours after birth. He was given medicine so that he could survive until surgery. He had his first open heart surgery four days later. He was in a very fragile state and only weighed 5.5 lbs. He was too small for a long term fix so they gave him a temporary 'shunt' so he could grow bigger and survive a more invasive surgery. The shunt meant that Brennan's blood was only oxygenated to about 75%. A normal person has 100% oxygen saturation and at 75% a normal healthy person would be in the hospital. When Brennan was 11 months he had his second open heart surgery where he had a “full repair” during which they put in an artificial main pulmonary artery and valve. These conduits aren't living and don’t grow so repeat surgeries are required. Brennan had his third open heart surgery just before his 5th birthday and he will require more as he grows and ages.

"Today Brennan is a very active eleven year old boy. He plays soccer and enjoys karate, drama and singing. You can always find Brennan singing or dancing no matter where he is (even the shower!) so he’s thrilled to be a part of UGA® Miracle’s Dance Marathon. He has unmatched energy compared to anyone else in the family – so much that Dr. Campbell calls him 'Thunder Britches.'"

- The Marasco Family