St. Charles Herald-Guide

Toddler receives heart transplant

By Kyle Barnett - September 5, 2013

The benefactor of the 2013 Fishing For Frankie fundraiser has received a heart transplant that will go a long way towards remedying a serious heart condition he has been battling for the past six months.

Two-year-old toddler Noah Townsend, the son of Luling-native Casey Townsend and her husband, Brad, was hospitalized earlier this year for a rare heart condition called cardiomyopathy. The disease causes the deterioration of the heart muscle and eventually leads to heart failure.

After undergoing several procedures, Noah had been on the heart transplant list since his hospitalization in February, during which time his parents uprooted their lives to be at his side at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

Regina Cyrus, Noah’s aunt, said his only chance at leading an ordinary childhood was to receive the heart transplant.

“The doctors tell you when you opt to have a heart transplant the reason that they do this is so your kid can have a normal life. That is the intention and that’s what happens,” she said. “There will be some faults along the way and it is not an absolute remedy as there will be some issues later on like coronary artery disease and other issues, but for now everything looks wonderful.”

Cyrus said she and her husband were on their way to Memphis to visit family when they received the news that Noah had received a donor heart on Friday, Aug. 30 and it would be implanted the next day.

“We turned back around down I-55 and picked up my dad in Hammond and the three of us and my daughter drove to Houston through the night and made it. We actually got to Houston around 3 a.m.,” she said.

They were able to see Noah shortly before he entered preparation for surgery at 7:30 a.m. It was not until 9 p.m. that the procedure was finished.

“It was a very lengthy procedure. My sister and her husband got to see him around 11 p.m. that night,” Cyrus said.  

The initial feeling is that the transplant went perfectly and the early results point toward a full recovery.

“Whenever there is a transplant there is always a risk of rejection, but the heart is doing wonderfully. Thus far all signs are good. They put the heart in, unclamped it and it took off right away,” Cyrus said.

Although the major part of Noah’s struggle appears to be over, and it should not be long before he does not have to be in a hospital 24 hours a day, there is still more time left before he can return to Louisiana.

“The presumption is that he will be in the hospital for a couple of more weeks and then they will have to stay in Houston at least three months, but it could be up to six months,” she said. “There is a whole pharmaceutical regimen that needs to be implemented before he can leave Houston.”

The donor information is being kept secret, but Cyrus said their family is grateful that the anonymous donor’s family felt the need to provide the organ.

“The importance of organ donation is lost on a lot of people,” she said. “We as a family are so grateful. That other family is enduring the hardest possible thing that anyone can ever have to endure and has given, I don’t know how many, but at least one family the opportunity to see their child grow up and thrive.”

Cyrus said the family is also thankful to those who provided support by attending the Fishing For Frankie event in Luling for Noah’s benefit.

“It was amazing to see so many people we grew up with and so many people we have known rally around them and come out and offer support,” she said.

Toddler receives heart transplant