At first glance, they look like any other family. A mom and dad with two toddlers and their hands full. But life is even more challenging for Aimee and Mike Murphy of Medford and their two-year-old daughter Katy.
She was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart problem before she was even born. A doctor detected her condition on an ultrasound.
The walls of her heart are abnormally rigid and the heart cannot properly stretch and fill with blood.
“Her biggest problem right now is she has trouble gaining weight because her heart is working so hard to compensate,” Aimee told WBZ.
She is in dire need of a heart transplant.
Katy is the only toddler in New England waiting for a new heart.
“She’s been through a lot and she takes it better than me. I can’t get an IV poke without crying, so she’s very brave,” Aimee said.
Katy is near the top of the waiting list for a transplant, so Aimee and Mike jump whenever the phone rings.
“Every time you look down at the caller ID and it says Boston Children’s Hospital you wonder, ‘Is this the call or is it not the call,’ especially at night,” said Mike.
“Also, if I’m out and I have Katy, and Mike calls, I’m like ‘Why are you calling? What’s the matter?’ I instantly think something’s wrong. Even something simple like she’s had a bug and I don’t know if this is going to be what’s going to put her over the edge and make her sicker,” Aimee said.
For now, the Murphys take frequent trips into Children’s where her condition is closely monitored.
They say the staff there has been wonderful and so has little brother Patrick, who caters to Katy’s every wish.
“One day at a time. We don’t take anything for granted. We play a lot. We enjoy life,” said Aimee.
The Murphys say the entire experience is a double-edged sword, because they know that for Katy to live, another family will lose their child.
A benefit for the Murphy family will be held Friday night at the Long Meadow Golf Club in Lowell.
A friend has also set up a fund for them.
Donations can be sent to:
“Be A Rock For Katy” Fund
c/o The Savings Bank of Westfield
357 Main Street
Wakefield, MA 01880