In the spring of 2012, just 20 weeks into her pregnancy, Melia Mauldin received the devastating news that her son, Wyatt, would be born with three congenital heart defects: Aortic Coarctation, a Bicuspid Aortic Valve, and an Atrial Septal Defect. Because of the early diagnosis, the Mauldins were able to plan for Wyatt‛s surgery and treatment prior to his birth. Dr. Benjamin Peeler, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Levine Children’s Hospital, carefully walked Wyatt‛s parents through all of their options.

Wyatt was born on September 12, 2012. Less than two weeks later, Dr. Peeler performed surgery on Wyatt to repair his Aortic Coarctation. The date of his procedure, September 26, is one his family now refers to as Wyatt‛s “Happy Heart Day”. The surgery was a success, requiring only an annual checkup with his cardiologist since that time. “We will be forever indebted to Levine Children‛s Hospital for the care and support that we received while there. I am 100% certain that Wyatt would not be where he is today—a thriving and healthy toddler—if we did not have access to such an amazing hospital,” Melia remarks.

Today the Mauldin family raises funds to support other patients at Levine Children‛s Hospital by participating in the annual Hopebuilders 5K. Team members of “Wyatt‛s Warriors” have collectively raised over $5,000 for the hospital to help ensure that other families receive the same compassionate care where they.

(Above): Wyatt’s Warriors at the Hopebuilders 5K in October 2014; (below): Wyatt poses in front of Levine Children’s Hospital for his “Happy Heart Day” picture taken each year.