Our precious Tiger Princess, Marina Burmaster (Mar Mar), was born mid-December, 2018. Four days later, to the dismay of Marina’s first time parents, Heather and Tim, it was confirmed that Marina had two heart defects. They were crushed.
There have been endless appointments with pediatricians, cardiologists, gastrointestinal specialists, and feeding therapists. There have also been multiple lab tests, multiple ER visits, EKGs, x-rays, ECGs, and multiple surgeries. Little Marina persevered and has been amazingly strong, resilient, and tenacious!
To date, Marina has had three major surgeries - two open heart surgeries and one stomach surgery. She’s spent 1/3 of her life in the hospital and the family is expecting more surgeries to come in the future.
Though Mar Mar is home now, she continues to struggle to gain weight. She requires round the clock G-Tube feedings and needs constant supervision due to feeding intolerances and excessive vomiting. She is also taking numerous medications to keep her from going into heart failure. With her vomiting seeming to get worse, it is preventing her from even modest weight gain.
Marina faces additional medical interventions and surgeries as her heart is continually monitored since the lifespan of her last mitral valve repair cannot be accurately determined. She will eventually need a valve replacement over the coming years, however we don’t know when.
Tim and Heather’s finances have been seriously compromised and earning power diminished as they focused on Marina’s medical needs. They are confronted with many hospital and medical bills and will now need additional help to take care of Marina at home. Heather will hopefully return to work sometime in the fall depending on Marina’s road to recovery.
Marina is a fierce, feisty little heart warrior; a survivor and a fighter! Her smiles are a cherished gift. We reach out and ask for your support. As you can see, this little family would welcome and appreciate any support from you. No contribution would be considered too small and be accepted with utmost and sincere gratitude. Please feel free to donate anonymously. Many thanks!
For those who wish to know more about what’s happened we thought to provide a recent timeline of events below:
Between April 12th and June 9th, Marina had three surgeries, each requiring a post-op hospital stays of approximately one-several weeks; in addition to a prolonged stay at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
April 12 - Heart Surgery: VSD was very large and was repaired. The mitral valve’s frayed flap was partially repaired with the hope that it would continue to heal as she grew.
May 24 - Gastrostomy Tube/ GTube placement and Nissen Procedure (surgical procedure that corrects gastroesophageal reflux/vomiting by creating an improved valve mechanism at the bottom of the esophagus.)
June 9 - Heart Surgery: 2nd Repair of the Mitral Valve ~ A success! Hooray!
May 20 to June 25 (5 weeks and 2 days) - Admitted to UCSF and cared for by the best and brightest
June 16 - The day we all waited for, Marina smiled! … and melted our hearts. The staff at UCSF had already fallen in love with her attentive curiosity, alertness, feistiness, and now Marina’s precious smiles stole their hearts!
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