5-Year-Old Wellsburg Boy With Congenital Heart Defect to be Guest of Honor at Annual Heart Ball
By Kelsey Kennedy, Producer/Digital Journalist - email
You can't tell to look at 5-year-old Ty Lallone that he has a congenital heart defect. The energetic kindergartner and his family are honored to be serving as the "Open Your Heart" family at the Annual American Heart Association Heart Ball on Saturday.
The Lallones, of Wellsburg, have been very active with the American Heart Association for the past few years. They know it will benefit Ty in the long run, especially after the news they received on Wednesday.
Ty's father, Jonathan Lallone, said they were just in to see the heart surgeon, who will review the results of Ty's echocardiogram with a panel of cardiologists to decide what's next for Ty. "He pretty much warned us that it's inevitable that within the next three or four months he'll have to have open heart surgery," Ty's father said.
While they were expecting the news, that didn't make it any easier to hear. Surgeons will replace Ty's aortic valve and pulmonary artery. His condition was discovered miraculously by his pediatrician, when Ty was just four months old.
"He heard a tick in his heart and sent us to the cardiologist," Jonathan says. "When the cardiologist sat us down, she told us he has a bicuspid aortic valve and it's leaking back into his heart."
Jonathan explains the condition Ty has doesn't make a sound, so it usually goes undetected. He's extremely grateful his pediatrician could tell something wasn't right. When undetected, the condition is sometimes deadly.
Ty and his family are lucky to know that playing sports would put a dangerous strain on his heart. That's why Jonathan calls the American Heart Association's Heart Walk Ty's Super Bowl. His fundraising team, Ty's Army, grows bigger each year. That's where the Lallones met Valerie Grimes, a Division Director for the American Heart Association. Grimes knew the Lallones would be the perfect "Open Your Heart Campaign" family to share their story at this year's heart ball.
Ty and his big sister Kirsten have been saving up for Saturday night, proving they have big hearts.
"We're collecting coins," Ty says.
He plans to donate his savings to the American Heart Association on Saturday. WTRF is a proud sponsor.