TERRE HAUTE —
When 7-year-old Katelyn Newell’s health continued to deteriorate, her cardiologist made a decision.
“It’s time to get the process started,” he told Katelyn’s mother, Robin Newell, in early August. As of Thursday, Katelyn is on a list to receive a heart transplant, and Newell has been given a pager.
“As soon as I get the page, we’re out” and en route to Indianapolis, Newell said Friday, but they don’t know when that might happen. Katelyn, a second-grader at Deming Elementary, is a patient at Riley Hospital for Children.
Katelyn was born with complex congenital heart disease, her mom said. She was born without a valve and underwent three surgeries to correct it. Except for a stroke when she was 31⁄2 years old, Katelyn had been very healthy until last fall.
Now, she suffers from bradycardia, in which her heart beats very slowly. Katelyn’s coronary arteries are not developing as they should, and her doctors have determined she needs a heart transplant.
When the pager goes off, it will mean a donor heart is available. “I’m excited and nervous both,” Katelyn’s mom said. “Once she has the new heart, they’re going to consider her a normal kid. She will no longer be disabled. She’ll be able to do anything that any other kid could do other than contact sports.”
Katelyn’s health has continued to worsen the past year. She is weak and turns blue constantly, her mom said. The cardiologist said that with all the medications Katelyn is taking, “She should be acting like a normal 7-year-old and she’s not.”
Much sooner than the family anticipated, they are preparing for the 7-year-old to undergo major surgery.
Katelyn, who has a pacemaker, continues to go to school each day, but she is in a wheelchair because she tires easily. She also has a “rest time” during the school day.
“We look forward to the day when she can get up out of her chair and run like all the other children in her classroom,” said Deming Principal Susan Mardis.
Katelyn will be recognized and serve as the inspiration for a Deming School blood drive from 2 to 6 p.m. Sept. 24 in the school gym. The school community and public are welcome to attend and donate blood.
The past few weeks, the family has been dealing with health insurance matters, and Katelyn has had all kinds of blood work, Newell said.
Katelyn’s grandmother will work with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association to conduct fundraisers for transplant-related expenses not covered by insurance. Newell said they anticipate they will need financial assistance with anti-rejection medications that Katelyn will have to take after the transplant.
Newell said her daughter “knows she’s getting a new heart,” and Riley has provided a book for Katelyn and her brothers to read that will explain it in terms they can understand.
Katelyn can walk around at home, but if they go to the store, she needs a cart or wheelchair. “She complains of her muscles hurting a lot, her leg and arm muscles,” Newell said. On occasion, Katelyn has belly pains.
Newell said her mind is “constantly racing” as she thinks about doctor’s appointments, the transplant and her several other children at home. “I’m used to being at home with them, but I can’t be both places.”
Her finance, Scott Moody, is a manager at a downtown Terre Haute restaurant.
When the transplant takes place, Katelyn will be in the hospital at least two weeks and then she and her mom will be in a Ronald McDonald apartment for another six to eight weeks. When Katelyn returns to Terre Haute, she’ll be in isolation at home for at least three months, Newell said.
Mardis said Katelyn “always has a smile, but she tires easily.” Early in the school year, Katelyn was walking to the bus, and she told her principal, “I can’t go anymore. My chest hurts.”
Mardis picked the child up, sat her down on a bench and called her mother. Now, because she is in a wheelchair, Katelyn rides a special bus home.
Katelyn’s second-grade teacher, Sandra Childress, said the delicate blonde “is such an inspiration.” The 7-year-old always smiles and never complains, Childress said.
Her lips were “so blue” one day, but Katelyn wanted to stay at school. “She’s a trooper,” Childress said, and her classmate are concerned about her and look out for her.
At some point, Childress hopes to have a health expert talk to the class about heart transplants so they have a better understanding of what will happen. “They get nervous. They worry about her,” Childress said.
On Friday, Katelyn rested in a comfortable room that teachers have decorated for her and another child with serious health problems. It has bright blue and orange bean bag chairs, a rocking chair, books, books on tape and stuffed animals. It also has paper cutout stars, since the school’s theme is the Deming Stars.
“I get to sleep in a bean bag chair,” a happy Katelyn told those around her. One of the books she’s excited about is titled, “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie.”
She also confessed she’s a huge Justin Bieber fan.
This weekend, the family will continue its wait for a new heart for Katelyn.
“I’m ready for her to be healthy. I’m so ready,” Newell said.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or email@example.com.
TERRE HAUTE —
When 7-year-old Katelyn Newell’s health continued to deteriorate, her cardiologist made a decision.
Life-Size Ping Pong: Valley pickleball tourney draws large crowd to Brittlebank Park
It’s been described as “ping pong on steroids.”
Some people call it “life-size ping pong where you stand on the table.”
Boat trip aims to raise awareness about Lewy Body Dementia
In 2013, the Year of the River, it makes sense to link a grand adventure on the Wabash River with a good cause.
Legislature had little taste for alcohol bills
When it comes to alcohol, the 2013 legislative session may be marked more by what it didn’t do to boost booze sales than what it did.
STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Is it regulation that doesn’t make sense or evening the playing field?
I’m not much of a drinker, so I haven’t spent much time thinking about how Indiana’s alcohol laws personally impact me, but that changed last fall when my daughter got married.
For Piper: Annual ‘Rush the Punter’ event dedicated to Dixie Bee student who died Wednesday after a short illness
Steve Weatherford’s “Rush the Punter” fundraiser at Fairbanks Park on Saturday was dedicated to a little girl who lost her life unexpectedly to pneumonia.
Vigo schools prepare to tighten belts
State funding for the Vigo County School Corp. will remain “pretty flat” for the next two years, said Donna Wilson, chief financial officer.
Veterans take to the trees
Cristal Bednar took photos of her husband, Justin, as he laboriously climbed his way up a “Dangle-Duo” to get to a zipline at Indiana State University’s Sycamore Outdoor Center.
Property owner seeks halt to Hulman Lake dam project
A Terre Haute property owner is seeking an injunction that would at least temporarily halt the city’s work on the Hulman Lake dam project.
Tornado veterans balance preparedness, practicality
Few things in nature are less predictable than a tornado. They can form quickly. They strike weirdly, leveling one building while leaving its neighbor untouched. They can fling a car a half-mile and turn a piece of lumber into a wall-piercing missile.
ISU unveils interactive Bayh Family Legacy Wall at school
A who’s who of Indiana Democrats paid tribute to Evan Bayh and several generations of the Bayh family Friday during a dedication of a new interactive display at Indiana State University.
Can you smell me now?
A contraband cell phone has been discovered by the Vigo County Jail’s youngest and most unique officer.
GIVING BACK: Steve Weatherford buys shoes for kids day before charity run
Terre Haute’s Steve Weatherford, punter for the 2012 Super Bowl champion New York Giants, showed once again his generosity Friday by donating new athletic shoes to more than two dozen Vigo County kids.
N.Y. Giants honor Weatherford as ‘Man of the Year’
Dan Tanoos, superintendent of Vigo County schools, remembers the first time he saw Steve Weatherford as a freshman at Terre Haute North Vigo High School.
Sunday recital at The Woods
A recital featuring songs from well-known composers is at 7 p.m. Sunday in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
Police investigating rash of car window shootings
Terre Haute Police are investigating a rash of shootings that have shattered car windows throughout the city.
City hospitals get passing grades for patient safety
Two Terre Haute hospitals have been ranked for patient safety by an independent organization that assesses safety, quality and affordability of healthcare for Americans.
Three from Operation Turn and Burn sentenced in federal court
Three co-conspirators in a Wabash Valley methamphetamine trafficking ring were sentenced this week to several years in federal prison.
Skateboarders, BMX bike riders working to improve area of city park they use
The sound of small wheels rolling across smooth concrete fills the air, accented by the clacking noise of a wooden skateboard coming to an instant stop on a metal edge before rolling on again.
Indiana State to host 2014 MVC baseball tourney
Build it… and they will come. The Missouri Valley Conference and Indiana State University made that famous line from the movie “Fields Of Dreams” reality Thursday.
Overlay recommended for 812 area code
The state agency that represents Hoosier utility customers is calling for a ten-digit solution to southern Indiana’s vanishing supply of 812 area code telephone numbers.
Elementary school saddened by student’s death
A 9-year-old Dixie Bee Elementary student died unexpectedly Wednesday evening as the result of pneumonia, said Vigo County Coroner Susan Amos on Thursday.
Vermillion CSX crossings undergoing maintenance
CSX maintenance crews are working on railroad crossings between Dana and Chrisman, Ill. this week and next, a CSX official said Thursday.
Beware of scams everywhere
Ever get a phone call in the middle of the night from a person claiming to be your grandchild, who unfortunately has been jailed in Canada and needs bail money?
INDOT to start work on Indiana 163 in Vermillion County
Maintenance crews will begin a pavement preservation project Monday on Indiana 163, between Indiana 63 and the Illinois state line west of Clinton.
Union Hospital community garden spots now available
Community gardening spots are now available at the Union Hospital Community Garden for Wabash Valley residents interested in planting and maintaining a garden but may not have the space. The garden is located west of the intersection of North Sixth Street and Seventh Avenue in Terre Haute at 1430 N. Sixth St.
Correctional officer remembered at memorial
Greene County native and Wabash Valley Correctional Facility Officer Timothy Betts was honored during a memorial ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Money donated for Dresser sculpture
100+ Women Who Care of Vigo County on Thursday awarded a $20,200 grant to Art Spaces that will help make the Paul Dresser sculpture, “A Song for Indiana,” a reality.
Powerball jackpot quickly jumps to $550 million
The Powerball jackpot jumped to $550 million on Thursday — the third largest lottery in history — as dreamers in all but the seven states where the game isn’t played snatched up tickets for the minuscule chance at a life on easy street.
About 200 channel catfish find new home in Dobbs Park pond
About 200 channel catfish transferred into a new home at the Dobbs Park pond on Wednesday, but it’s unclear how long they’ll remain there. That depends upon the people fishing.
GED grads turn the tassels
Michelle McClendon’s first child was born when she was 15.
She tried to stay in school, but it was just too much, so she dropped out to take care of her daughter.
- More News Headlines
- Life-Size Ping Pong: Valley pickleball tourney draws large crowd to Brittlebank Park