Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 27, 2014

A send-off as BIG as Texas

Kindergartener's dream trip granted by Make-A-Wish

GARRISON — As red balloons flew over Garrison Elementary School, Make-A-Wish Foundation recipient Sadie Jane Moore rode off in a limo with her parents on her way to fulfilling her dream in Austin, Texas.

Sadie, 6, has lived with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and Jacobsen syndrome since birth. Two open-heart surgeries later, her mother, Hope Veach, said she is as playful as ever.

“A ‘spitfire’ is the best way to describe her,” Veach said. “She is determined and defiant, much like a 6-year-old going on 16.”

Veach said country music was at the heart of her daughter’s wishes when it came to choosing her Make-A-Wish destination.

Sadie and her family left Thursday afternoon for Austin’s iHeartRadio County Music Festival, which will feature some of her favorite artists, including Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan and Eric Church.

The sendoff, arranged by Assistant Principal Gigi Prater, included cake with her kindergarten classmates and a balloon release outside the front entrance to the school.

Many of her family members came to support her, including stepfather Russell Veach, her dad, Kyle Moore, and stepmother Jennifer Moore.

Sadie, though tired from the day’s activities, managed to run around the cafeteria prior to the balloon release, telling people she was going on an airplane for the first time, but was unaware of the concert.

“She doesn’t know what’s going on when we get to Austin,” Mrs. Veach said. “She’ll be surprised, that’s for sure.”

The girl’s developed hypoplastic left heart syndrome after being born without a left ventricle in her heart. The left ventricle is used to help pump blood away from the heart and into the arteries.

“She had her first surgery when she was 2 weeks old, her second at 7 months and her third surgery is pending. It’s a three-step process,” Mrs. Veach said.

Her mother and father both said Sadie has stayed positive throughout the medical journey and does not realize anything is wrong.

“She was born this way, so it’s all she knows,” he said.

When talking with media, her parents and Prater, Sadie did not think twice about revealing her “zipper,” a long narrow scar down the center of her chest that is a remnant of past heart surgeries.

“It’s a zipper for my heart,” she said.

For the day, classmates, staff and family members dressed in red to represent Sadie’s battle with heart problems and cheered for her as she walked out of the school, waving and smiling to her classmates.

LANA BELLAMY can be reached at lbellamy@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

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