She held her newborn in her arms, the wonder, the miracle of it all washing over her. Home from the hospital Tiffany and her husband, Steve, were settling into their new life with baby Khloe when their pediatrician informed them she had jaundice. When the symptoms returned, a second trip to the hospital led to more tests—with staggering results: Khloe had a congenital heart defect and required immediate open heart surgery. What followed was an agonizing 10-day ordeal…with a happy ending, a journey that has led little Khloe and her parents to give back in beautiful ways to other “heart families.”
FROM SURGERY TO TRIUMPH
“She was just eight days old when she was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. We had no time to research. We had to trust these people we didn’t know anything about; I literally put my baby’s life in their hands,” said Tiffany. “I’ll never forget. We got there on a Wednesday; she had surgery on a Friday; and we went home the following Saturday. We had about 20 people in the waiting room with us, yet I felt so alone and just cried. It was very scary, but luckily, her congenital heart defect was one that was more correctable with open heart surgery.”
In the four years since, Khloe has become a delightful, energetic, spunky girly-girl—and proven herself a strong little “heart warrior.” She’s undergone annual checkups with EKGs and echocardiograms, and through it all, Tiffany said, “She’s so brave. I get more scared than she does!”
Khloe’s also joined her parents in making a difference with other families facing the trials of congenital heart defects and disease. When Khloe was coming up on her first “Happy Heart Day” (the anniversary of her surgery), Tiffany enlisted the help of a well-known tattoo shop and organized a family fun day. The fundraiser was a big success, raising $10,000 which they donated to Mended Little Hearts, a nonprofit empowering families affected by congenital heart defects and disease.
“We’re a big part of Mended Little Hearts. Every year for Khloe’s Happy Heart Day we do something to celebrate her and help the heart community in some way,” said Tiffany. One year, Tiffany made Origami Owl® Living Lockets for other moms in their local Mended Little Hearts community. Another year, they gifted a special Living Locket to Khloe’s cardiology nurse.
A CHARMING DISCOVERY
Tiffany couldn’t help but want to create lockets for these women touched by congenital heart disease—because it was a Living Locket that had touched her not long after Khloe’s surgery. Filled with gratitude for Khloe’s recovery, Steve was the first to commemorate Khloe’s miracle, with a tattoo featuring Khloe’s footprints, her name, and a heart with stitches. Tiffany wanted to find her own way to mark the moment, and she found it at a boutique.
“When I saw the Origami Owl booth, I instantly knew: this is what I had been looking for! My first locket included a ‘Blessed’ Plate, the Cross Charm, the K Charm, the Heart Charm, her June birthstone, and the Baby Girl Feet Charm,” said Tiffany. “After a couple of years, a friend who had become a Designer nudged me to consider joining Origami Owl. I loved how this jewelry allowed me to share a special bond with my precious little girl, and I decided that I wanted to help give that amazing feeling to others!”
As Tiffany looks back at the past few years, she’s thankful for the lessons learned—and the opportunities to be a Force For Good. She said, “It is really important to me to have Khloe and our family involved in different heart events for groups like Mended Little Hearts and Heart Heroes. I want her to grow up always confident in herself and her brave heart. Origami Owl allows my family to give back, and we’re grateful for that.”