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A Heart for Cody

Seventeen months is a long time to wait, especially for something as important as a new heart for your child.

Cody Halfpenny was born with a congenital heart defect called transposition of the great arteries (TGA). TGA causes the main arteries of the heart to switch positions, resulting in a lack of oxygenated blood to the body.

Cody underwent four open-heart surgeries in his first two years of life, the last of which resulted in the addition of a mechanical valve to support his heart. After several surgery-free years, it Cody went through a fifth open-heart surgery when he was 13 to replace the valve. Cody’s mother Elena described the weeks that followed his surgery as “grueling.” He suffered numerous strokes, cardiac arrests and a massive bleed.

After these scary ordeals, Cody became the first child at BC Children’s to be implanted with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), a mechanical pump that supports the function of his heart and allows for blood to flow. Elena and her husband Corey knew full well that the device (shown in the picture of Cody to the left) was only a temporary fix.

On October 11, 2013, Cody was placed on the list for a heart transplant.

Since then, the family has made numerous trips to the Emergency Department at BC Children’s. They can’t wait for the day they get the call that a new heart is ready for Cody so that they can start a new chapter in life. There have been numerous ups and downs during Cody’s medical journey, and Elena and Corey are thankful to Cody’s team at BC Children’s Hospital for helping them through every challenge that came their way.

“I do not have the words to say how thankful I am to our team,” says Elena. “They have literally become part of our family. Our team has saved my son’s life so many times. Dr. Gandhi fought for us in the early days and he continues to be so important in Cody’s life.”

Giving sick kids in BC the support and care they need wouldn’t be possible without the help of events like Grind for Kids. Grind for Kids is a community event hosted by the Grouse Grind that encourages climbers to ask their friends, family and co-workers to pledge $1 or more for every Grouse Grind they complete between June and October. All funds raised for Grind for Kids are directed to the Cardiology program at BC Children’s, helping support children with heart conditions like Cody.

Published on March 31, 2015, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation