HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – September 29 is World Heart Day, and one local mom is honoring the life of the child whose heart gave her daughter a second chance.
“You know we don’t want to think about this happening everyday, but it does,” Halley Cunnea said.READ MORE: Group Protesting Haitian Deportations Blocked Entrance To PortMiami
It’s not something many know about unless their baby has had complications.
“You know we have thought we were not going to take our daughter home and I’ve had to go out in public and pick out clothing for her,” Cunnea said.
Cunnea’s daughter Tallia was born with a hypoplastic left heart. She had heart surgery eight days after birth. Then months later, more surgeries, until doctors said she needed a transplant at 2.
“It’s hard to think it’s how she’s alive today,” Cunnea said.
Tallia was able to receive a heart, and her family now celebrates the life of the child who passed each year. And this year, just before Heart Day, Tallia’s mom saw a post from Carly Russo at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital for angel gowns.
“It was just a need, and I figured why not reach out into the community if there was anyone to help us,” Russo, a child life specialist, said.READ MORE: Hollywood Neighborhood Stunned After Police Officer Yandy Chirino Was Fatally Shot
It was a chance for Cunnea to help other families and give a piece of her own heart to each one.
“I could not imagine losing my child and pick out a dress to put it on them for the last time,” she said.
Because it is what it sounds like.
“And when they withdraw care, they are able to hold to their baby, in the gown,” Russo explained.
Cunnea would love more donated wedding gowns, or materials, even needles for the sewing machine. The hospital would also appreciate donations for its bereavement services that also help make other mementos.
“We’re here to support whoever we can, with their journeys of heart transplant or the inevitable with children sometimes having to use these gowns, we want to be there and support any family that we can,” Cunnea said.
To check out Halley’s Facebook page, click here.MORE NEWS: Fort Lauderdale Police Investigating School Threats
To donate to Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital, click here