Heart Ball Princess copes with congenital heart defect

"Who would have thought that we'd come this far?" Hannah's mom said.

BETTENDORF, Iowa - The Wells family enjoys their favorite board game, Clue. 11-year-old Hannah brings the spunk. 

"She is very strong, very feisty," said Kim, Hannah's Mom. Kim and her husband John cherish these moments with their daughter. At one point there was fear she wouldn't be here. Doctors warned Kim when she was pregnant. 

"There's something major wrong with your child's heart," Kim said. Hannah was diagnosed with a congenital birth defect, affecting normal blood flow through the heart. 

"The worst day of our lives was the day we were told that our child was literally dying inside of me," Kim said. The Wells decided to take action. 

"We were fortunate enough to have an inutero procedure, and that saved her life," Kim said. Now as a 6th grader, Hannah has had five surgeries. Two of those surgeries were open-heart. 

"I know when I first came out of surgery, my dad was just looking at me. I go, 'what?' Because he was just staring at me," Hannah said. Hannah struggles with shortness of breath, fatigue, and rapid heartbeat. 

"My heart will be racing," Hannah said. "Right here will start to hurt, kind of." Her solid support system is always ready to help. Hannah was asked about her older sister Madison, and she got emotional. 
"Just comfort me whenever I've had a bad day and stuff," Hannah said. "I just love her so much." The tight-knit Wells family is counting their blessings.  

"We were told if this were our older child, who's five years older, she would have died," Kim said. 
"I would say without the research that the American Heart Association has funded, we would not have our daughter. Period," John said. The Quad Cities American Heart Association has named Hannah this year's Heart Ball Princess. It's an honor that Hannah said she doesn't deserve. 

"Other kids have gone through way worse than what I've gone through," Hannah said. However, Mom feels differently. 

"Inside as a mom I'm thinking, are you joking me? You've been through a lot," Kim said. While Hannah has more surgeries in her future, the Wells know they'll get through it together. 

"Who would have thought that we'd come this far?" Kim said.  

The American Heart Association is the nation's oldest health organization dedicated to preventing and treating America's number one killer: heart disease. An annual Heart Ball celebrates the live-saving work of this non-profit. This year's Heart Ball is Saturday, March 3 in Downtown Davenport. 


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