Oliver Blankenship’s HLHS Journey

I have created this gofundme page to help our dear friends, Leslie and Brian, prepare their family for the arrival of Oliver and help support them in the time after his birth.  Not only will they have the cost of relocating to Houston and healthcare bills, but they will also have increased cost of living, gas to travel to and from the hospital to visit Oliver while he is there (30 minutes both ways), parking at the hospital ($12 a day), food for the family while visiting Oliver, etc. Due to Oliver’s heart condition and first 2 surgeries, it is anticipated he will stay in the hospital for at least the first 6 months of his life and once more when they come back for his 3rd surgery. 

I will add a link in the updates for their Amazon baby registry for those that want to send a gift or gift card for different resturants. I will also add a link for their Facebook page so you can get updates. Thank you so much for your donations and prayers. 

There will be t-shirts for sale as a fundraiser soon and we will share that information then for those that prefer to donate in that way. 

Here is a quick rundown of Oliver’s story as told by Leslie:

“There are moments that forever change you. For me, one of those life-altering moments happened on the morning of Thursday, March 1st, 2018.

At 25 weeks pregnant, I went Arkansas Children’s Hospital for a fetal cardiac echo. Our son Elliot (4 years old) has a type of Congenital Heart Disease known as a Bicuspid Aortic Valve. It is mild and has not caused Elliot any issues so far. This fetal echo was to determine if baby Oliver would have the same defect. After the echo, I sat down with cardiologist Dr. Elijah Bolin who delivered the worst news of my life.

“Oliver has a very serious heart defect.”

As the words began to sink in I heard him say “Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.” I had only heard those words once before and knew this was a tragic diagnosis.

HLHS is very rare. 1 in 100 children are born with Congenital Heart Disease every year (this includes Elliot and Oliver both). Only 5-10% of those CHD babies have HLHS (what Oliver has).

Left untreated, HLHS is fatal. The left side of the heart does not develop as it should and cannot get oxygenated blood to the body. The only hope of survival is a series of open heart surgeries to “reroute” the arteries and valves of the heart to force the right side to do the job of both sides. Thus, these kids only have “half a heart”.

To give Oliver a chance at life, we have decided to relocate to Houston so that Oliver can receive care at Texas Children’s Hospital, which is currently ranked #1 in the nation in Children’s Cardiology and Heart Surgery.

Oliver will receive his first open heart surgery at 1 week old, the second at around 5 months, and the third at around 18 months-3 years. Even if all three surgeries are successful, his heart will not truly be fixed and there is still a chance of long-term complications or even death at any point. There is also a chance that he will have to have a heart transplant at some point in his life. Without surgery he has no chance at all and we believe that moving to Houston gives him his best chance.

Oliver’s first name means “the olive tree” symbolizing an offer of peace. Not only has this pregnancy been more peaceful than my first, but we believe God has given us a true peace about this situation and has opened doors for us in unexplainable ways. Oliver’s middle name is William meaning “strong-willed Warrior.” Ironically, CHD kids are commonly referred to as Heart Warriors.

We are incredibly grateful and humbled by the outpour of love and support we have received from our family, friends, and even strangers during this journey and we know this is just the beginning. It has given us so much hope during such a dark time in our lives.”

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
-Joshua 1:9


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Sommer Summers 
Austin, AR
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