Community rallies to help family of firefighter preparing for baby to be born with birth defects

Posted at 4:12 PM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-07 19:46:54-05

Baby Quinn is not born yet, but already her parents know she’ll be a fighter.

The day Sandee and Adam Walker found out they were expecting a baby girl was a day of joy and heartbreak.

“They did an echo[cardiogram] on her and found out that she has HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome), which means that the left side of her heart never formed,” said Sandee Walker, who received this news when she was about 18 weeks pregnant.

Baby Quinn will be born with half of a heart -- a rare and severe heart defect that affects about one in every 4,344 babies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Her treatment will require three open heart surgeries — the first will happen when she’s only about a week old.

“Everything the doctor was saying was very bad news, and just the severity of it--it’s tough to hear,” said Adam Walker, the baby’s father.

Adam was born with a congenital heart defect himself, which is why Sandee received an echocardiogram.

Doctors don’t know when but say at some point Quinn will need a heart transplant.

“A transplant--a heart only lasts about 15 years, which is scary to think every 15 years she would need a new heart,” Sandee said.

Her family now wears t-shirts that say “#QuinnStrong” for their little fighter. They’re selling these t-shirts online to raise awareness of congenital heart defects and to help them financially for what’s ahead.

“Being a firefighter for this many years has prepared me for the stress, but when it’s your own family, it’s hard to take it the same way,” Adam said.

Adam is a firefighter and paramedic with the Casa Grande Fire Department. He says the Casa Grande Fire Honor Guard has donated a check to his family, and firefighters have donated shift trades to help him out.

Sandee, a dance instructor, says a lot of the students she teaches have bought the shirts.

With the community’s support, the Walkers wait eagerly for their third child.

If you’d like to help them out, you can do so by clicking here.