Mom says, “I am a mom of an amazing heart warrior.”
(Editor's note: In conjunction with Heart Month (February) Grace Henderson, 11, and family were special guests at Dell Baptist Church to share her amazing journey through numerous surgeries leading to a heart transplant.)
Dell – February being heart month, on Feb. 4 Dell Baptist Church hosted the Henderson family, a family who portrays the meaning of heart month.
The Henderson family of Wynne has family ties not only to Dell but also to the Manila and Lost Cane area. Dilliu Henderson (mom) is the namesake and great-granddaughter of Dillie Veach, granddaughter of Rosalie Veach Williams and daughter of Brother Sunny and Sandra Williams of Dell Baptist Church in Dell.)
The Henderson family came to Dell Baptist Church to share their journey as a family after being told in December 2006 their unborn daughter would be born with a heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
The journey began at UAMS in Little Rock on Feb. 5, 2007, where Grace was born and quickly whisked off to Arkansas Children’s Hospital by a transfer team to prepare for her first open heart surgery at three days old, followed by two more open heart surgeries (BT, SANO and GLEN) all in her first year of life.
In 2010, Grace went back into the hospital for her fourth open heart surgery (FONTAN).
The year 2014 brought even more struggles, more doctors and more hospital visits as she was diagnosed with Protein Losing Enteropathy and Sinus Node Dysfunction. Grace was opened up once again to insert a pacemaker device in her little body in 2015. Throughout that year and the beginning of 2016 nothing seemed to help Grace. Her little body was swollen and distorted. The doctors decided in April of 2016 there was no other option for Grace but a heart transplant.
Parents Dilliu and Adam struggled with a heart transplant knowing in all reality another child would have to die so their child could live. They said they could not even pray for God to supply Grace a heart knowing the donor family would have to go through such pain of losing their child. They prayed for God’s will. Within just a few days of going on the heart transplant list in April 2016, the Henderson family received the call. A child had died, the family wanted to donate the child’s organs so other children could live and it was discovered the child’s heart was a perfect match for Grace. The Henderson family, other family members and friends headed for Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock where the heart transplant was performed.
What about the older brother Keith and younger sister Faith Abigail through this journey that definitely affected every member of the family?
Dilliu and Adam strived to keep as much normality in the family as possible for the sake of Keith and Faith Abigail who has had to sacrifice at times for their sister, Grace.
Keith is 13 years old, plays football and baseball and he is an A student in the eighth grade.
Faith Abigail is 8 years old, plays softball, loves to sing, loves to talk and is doing well in the second grade.
Grace is now 11 years old, plays softball, is a cheerleader, is in the fourth grade and loves life.
When Grace is in the hospital Mom goes with her and Dad stays home working hard to pay the bills, keeping the insurance, taking care of Keith and Faith Abigail and running them to and from their various activities.
The Henderson family is glad to share the journey they are going through as a family in hopes it might encourage others who are struggling with life’s troubles. They give God all the glory and honor for taking them through every step of their journey as they hang onto the scripture, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37.
Dilliu says, “The donor family is always on my heart because they unselfishly gave out of their grief so Grace could live.”
The journey continues as the Henderson family stands in faith to face whatever comes.