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Malix-Kai's story began on September 26th, 2022, when he was born in Saskatoon, SK. From that moment, his life took a unique path filled with challenges and triumphs, revealing his extraordinary strength and resilience.

At the heart of his story is the remarkable journey of a family's love and unwavering devotion. During my pregnancy with Malix-Kai, there were concerns about his heart. Several ultrasounds were performed during the second trimester due to difficulties in visualizing his heart. Despite his aversion to ultrasounds even now, the third attempt showed no abnormalities, and we felt a sense of relief. However, after Malix-Kai's birth, it became clear that something was amiss. His oxygen levels were dangerously low and couldn't be raised to normal levels, even with supplemental oxygen. This led to his admission to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a heartbreaking moment for our family, as I was unable to accompany him due to my own recovery from a c-section. Hours later, the head of the pediatric cardiology department delivered the devastating news that Malix-Kai had Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of four different heart conditions. Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), a complex heart condition encompassing four distinct defects in his heart’s structure. These defects work in combination to disrupt the normal flow of blood through the heart and to the lungs. 1. **Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD):** This is a hole in the wall that separates the two lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart. It allows oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood to mix, reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches the body. 2. **Pulmonary Stenosis:** The pulmonary valve, which controls blood flow from the heart to the lungs, is narrowed or blocked in this defect. This obstruction places strain on the right ventricle as it pumps blood through the narrowed valve. 3. **Right Ventricular Hypertrophy:** Due to the increased workload caused by the pulmonary stenosis, the right ventricle thickens and becomes enlarged over time. 4. **Overriding Aorta:** The aorta, the main artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body, is misaligned and positioned over the VSD, allowing it to receive blood from both ventricles. This further leads to oxygen-poor blood being circulated to the body.

Immediate open-heart surgery was necessary. Malix-Kai needed to be flown to the stollery children's hospital in Edmonton, but the plane only being able to hold 2 plus the pilot, we made the very difficult decision to drive to Edmonton together, knowing we needed the other there for support. That was it's own unique challenge in and of itself but that's another story for another time. Once in Edmonton, we encountered another hurdle when the surgery had to be postponed until Malix-Kai was strong enough. This period tested our patience and resolve, but on October 3rd, he finally had his first successful open-heart surgery, followed by a two-week recovery period before we could bring him home. Our joy was immeasurable. However, our happiness was short-lived when we learned on November 14th that he needed another open-heart surgery. On November 21st 2022, while en route, we were involved in a harrowing car accident caused by a semi-truck rear-ending us in snowy conditions. Miraculously, Malix-Kai emerged unscathed, but we found ourselves stranded in a province where we knew no one and urgently needed to get our baby to Edmonton for surgery. Ultimately, we overcame these challenges, and Malix-Kai the strong and brave has undergone two open-heart surgeries, three cardiac catheterizations, and had one stent placed into his pulmonary artery, all in his almost one year of life, with plans for a larger one in the near future. Throughout this medic

al journey, Malix-Kai's spirit continued to shine brightly. His joyful personality touched everyone he encountered, becoming a beacon of light even in our darkest moments. Our journey was marked by sleepless nights and financial worries, but it also showcased the incredible strength of our family, bound together by love and resilience. The support of the community that rallied around us was nothing short of extraordinary.

Malix-Kai's journey has been one of courage, love, and inspiration, and we are honored to share it with you.

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