Sterling, the HLHS warrior & Kabuki Queen

Sterling was born on Tuesday 8th September 2020 at Advocate Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, USA, her birth being a little different than most babies'. She was diagnosed with a rare heart disease, a condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, or HLHS for short. Her specific heart condition is a little more complex than just HLHS, and as you'll soon see, she is a very special little girl.

Born at 8:28am to the soothing sounds of Lacksley Castell - Speak Softly, Sterling immediately required surgery to open a small valve in her heart, this procedure kept blood flowing enough for her first major open heart surgery at 6 days old, a procedure called the Norwood. The Norwood procedure replumbs the heart by building a new aorta, and makes the right ventricle pump blood to the lungs.

Sterling is now 4 weeks post-Norwood and is doing extremely well. She will require another 2 open heart surgeries, the Glenn, which is performed at 3-6 months old, and the Fontan, performed at around 24 months. According to the CDC, around 1,000 babies are born with HLHS in the US every year, and the odds of her special little heart is about 1 in 200,000.

During her stay in the Paediatric Cardiac ICU, Sterling's parents realised she was full of surprises, so doing what Sterling does best:
- she was diagnosed with having one kidney In Utero. Sterling successfully smuggled a kidney for around 25 weeks without anyone noticing, until her smaller pelvic kidney was discovered on x-ray by pure coincidence at a few weeks old. Thankfully, it is behaving and with time, should act like a normal kidney, but not as effecient.
- she was diagnosed with a tethered spinal cord, a condition where the spinal cord is pulled down and stuck, or fixed, to the spinal canal. It is nothing that needs to be addressed until about 12 months old, where Sterling may require a procedure to free her spinal cord and allow her spine to grow properly, allowing her body to grow big and strong.
- she diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Sterling now sports a lovely hip brace for 23 hours a day, which she will wear for around a year, or until her hips strengthen. Making lemonade from lemons, the brace makes it easier for mommy and daddy to hold her, but adds an additional layer of difficulty to diaper changes. 

On top of everything above (as mentioned earlier, she is a special little girl) Sterling has a few other battles on her hands, but nothing this strong little girl can’t overcome. Her parents are constantly amazed at both her strength and sass, and can’t wait to go home as a family. They look forward to bath times, lazy days on the sofa, and relaxing at the beach at their home in Gary, Indiana, where they live with their fur babies Gustavo, Jerry, and Milo, who are all eagerly awaiting their new siblings arrival home.

Sterling's Opa (German for Grandpa) set up the original GoFundMe in £/GBP (the currency of the UK) to help with Sterling's medical expenses in the USA, raising over £5,000 (roughly around $6,500 US Dollars) for Sterling's care. As Sterling lives in the US, the campaign was migrated over from the GBP campaign, to this USD campaign as this is more appropriate for her. To all donors who donated in GBP - we have not forgotten about you! Although your donation may not appear here as a donation, it will appear in the updates - from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

Sterling's has a long road a head of her, her medical condition requires highly specialised care around the clock. Thankfully, she has a an entire team of world-class nurses, doctors, and  surgeons taking the best care of her. She will likely spend her first few months in the PCICU, until she's stable enough to come home. Your donation, and any other donations received will go towards Sterling's care, medical bills, and rehabilitation.

There aren't enough words to express our gratitude - thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the love, support, and donations. Sterling has shown us that she is a fighter, and she continues to surprise us all the time with the amazing strength she has to overcome her odds.


  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 2 yrs
  • Jo Cook
    • $15 
    • 3 yrs
  • Sarah Highlen
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $200 
    • 3 yrs
  • Kathleen Naughton
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs

Fundraising team (2)

Kingsley Raspe
Gary, IN
Frank Raspe
Team member

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