Facing surgery, family wants to give back

Boy’s fourth heart surgery prompts call for donations

Shortly after he was born, Evan Karr was diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect that occurs in around five of every 10,000 babies born. It’s one of the most common heart defects and is actually four defects in one, involving a hole between the chambers of the heart, a narrowing of the pulmonary valve and area between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery; a thickening of the right ventricle; and the aorta is in the wrong location – between the left and right ventricles.

Now 13, Evan has had three open heart surgeries and several other procedures to repair his heart, including valve and artery replacement. There’s one issue: While the replacement parts work well, they don’t grow.

“We had been hoping to hold off surgery,” said Evan’s mother, Sarah. “He’s now large enough to receive the largest parts possible.”

For each surgery, Evan has had his second family at the Norton Children’s Heart Center standing by him.

“We know everyone there and they are like family,” Sarah said.

You can help today

It takes the commitment of everyone to help Norton Children’s fulfill the mission of providing for the physical and emotional health of all children.

And now Sarah is hoping she can give back to the family that has done so much for her. As Evan prepares to have his fourth open heart surgery, she hopes people will give to support Brave Hearts, a group of families who have children with congenital heart defects. The goal of Brave Hearts is to raise funds to support the construction of the new Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

“I feel very strongly that a CICU is needed,” Sarah said. “We have the best doctors and best team — I have utmost faith in them. They just need this new CICU that will give them the tools and space to give kids an even better chance.

“I also know that Evan and many more like him are going to need this in the future.”

You can make a gift now in support of the Brave Hearts’ efforts. Be sure to specify your gift is in honor of Evan Karr and is designated for the Heart Center.

About Brave Hearts

Friends, fun and a future for pediatric heart patients

Brave Hearts is a support group of local families united by their children’s fight to overcome complex congenital heart defects. These children often have endured multiple heart surgeries, heart transplants and other related medical issues.

The parents of these children have experienced the fear and uncertainty that comes with learning their child has a serious heart defect that requires surgery. As a team, Brave Hearts provides support for families navigating this path.

Make a donation to our future
A child with a congenital heart defect requires the care of a specialized team of professionals like the one found at Norton Children’s Heart Center.

To meet the growing needs of children in our region, Norton Children’s Heart Center plans to add the specialized Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

Brave Hearts’ goal is to raise $100,000 toward this effort and expand programs and facilities for heart patients at Norton Children’s Hospital. Make a donation toward this program now.


brave hearts