I Wish I Would’ve Known How Strong She Is

Casey's Family
Casey as a Child

Sending a child to kindergarten with a CHD diagnosis can be nerve-wracking. But when Katie looks back on that day now, she can only be amazed by all her daughter has accomplished.

Born 21 years ago at just four pounds and with Tetralogy of Fallot, Casey is now following in her father’s and grandfather’s footsteps as a junior at the University of Notre Dame. Casey currently sees pediatric cardiologist Glen Iannucci, MD at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Cardiology’s Alpharetta clinic, where she will remain until she turns 23.

Casey had a full repair of her heart defect a few months after birth, and she had an artificial pulmonary valve implanted when she was 12. Katie said they were concerned every time Casey took the next step in life, but they soon came to believe she could do just about anything, including sports like lacrosse and basketball. For Casey’s part, her mom says she doesn’t know any different.

“Luckily she doesn’t remember the really hard moments,” Katie said. “While she lives with the physical scars of her journey, she’s kind of proud of them. Kids are incredibly strong and resilient, and they don’t know what they don’t know. They only know who they are, and they’re capable of so much. Be patient and let them be who they are.”


Katie said when Casey was born, they were grateful to have the world-class care at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Heart Center available to them close by in Atlanta, along with excellent outpatient care at Children’s Cardiology. She said the professional quality of care and the ability to manage the most complex cases makes Children’s stand out. She appreciates how the pediatric cardiology team has personalized Casey’s care to her stage in life as she’s grown up.

“She’s got the best doctors and nurses who have the experience and knowledge that we don’t have,” Katie said. “It’s a huge leap of faith to transfer your trust into their hands, and it takes courage to do it. It’s not easy, but these kids are in great hands, and it can end up okay or more than okay! It has for us, and we’re so grateful.”

For more information about Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Cardiology and our pediatric cardiology specialists, click here.

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