Maxine the Mighty Heart Warrior

Maxine was born October 1, 2015 to a beautiful family: mother Melissa, father Randy, and a spunky big sister and Irish twin, Lucy. She is a lively, sweet little girl who loves to play and explore, learn and grow. Maxine loves her family, especially cuddles.  And her loving family adores this beautiful little girl with all of their hearts.

Rewinding a little over a year. Melissa and Randy were delighted to find out they were pregnant with a second child.  June 3, 2015, the expectant couple had a Level 2 Ultrasound. When the ultrasound technician was concerned, she promptly called in the help of a doctor. From there, they received a fetal echo of Maxine’s heart.  It was determined that Maxine had a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD). Because of Maxine’s combination of defects, her CHD is classified as complex. Her four major heart abnormalities include Double Outlet Right Ventricle (DORV), Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA), a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), and a small Pulmonary Valve.

Maxine has received many procedures and tests since the day she was born. October 29, 2015, Maxine had a shunt placed in her heart to increase blood flow and oxygen to her heart. This was a short-term fix for her large surgery.

On July 13, 2016, Maxine received the surgery that would change her life forever. This is just one of a lifetime of surgeries to come. Maxine received open-heart surgery to repair her defects. One of her procedures included an Arterial Switch to fix the Transposition of the Great Arteries. Days after her surgery, Maxine’s complications began.  High fevers and a collapsed lung caused her to be placed on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma. These were just a few battles this mighty little girl fought. On July 21, she was weaned off the ventilator and at 10 months old, Maxine and the Zolk family went home.

At home, she had a feeding tube but that never stopped her. She quickly grew strong enough to eat on her own. She is crawling (she’s so fast!), pulling herself up, and loves playing with big sister Lucy.

December 22, 2016, Maxine’s health took an unexpected and unwanted turn. She was admitted to the hospital with issues related to heart failure. After Melissa and Randy had a long and emotional discussion with Maxine’s doctors, it was decided to move forward with testing to see if Maxine is a candidate for a heart transplant. Being that Advocate Christ Hospital is not currently a transplant center, Maxine would be moved to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

December 26, 2016, the day after Christmas, Maxine was transferred to Lurie Children’s. Through the transfer, it has been discovered that Maxine’s complications continue to grow. Currently she is battling two bleeding ulcers believed to be caused by stress.

The smallest thing we could ask of you is to help this beautiful little warrior and her strong, endlessly loving family.  This little girl is so loved by many. Please continue to send hope, love, thoughts, and prayers for strength and peace. 

Thank you for your love and compassion. Please share the love.

Donations ()

  • Cari Raz 
    • $10 
    • 19 mos
  • Vanessa Palmer 
    • $500 
    • 26 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 27 mos
  • Greg szots 
    • $50 
    • 27 mos
  • Edna Dizdarevic  
    • $30 
    • 27 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Sara Ann DeLeo Cummings 
Chicago, IL
Melissa Zolk 
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