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"These heart kids are warriors," mom of Omaha Heart Ball princess shares journey

Posted at 8:38 AM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 09:52:28-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Every year the American Heart Association Omaha Heart and Stroke Ball features a child who has undergone heart complications. This year's event will be a digital experience, but there will still be a heart princess.

7-year-old Eily Maxwell had tri-cupsid valve atresia. One of her valves never formed and she has one pumping chamber instead of two. Doctors noticed the complication when her mom was pregnant with Eily.

"The miracle of Eily is hers was perfectly balanced between needing to have blood go out to the lungs and needing to protect her lungs from too much blood. She was by the nature of her defect, perfectly balanced and we didn't need to do anything," said Dr. Spicer, chief of cardiology at Children's Hospital and Medical Center.

Dr. Robert Spicer says they held off on the anticipated surgery right when she was born and waited until she was almost 5 months old. They performed another surgery when she was 4 years old. They were able to re-route her blood and take it to her lung arteries directly.

Eily is now an active child, and Dr. Spicer says she can take part in activities typical for a kid her age.

Her mom admits it was difficult to learn Eily would be born with health complications, but says Eily amazes her everyday, "don't give up hope, these heart kids are warriors, and you don't know what your baby has in store for you."

The American Heart Association Omaha Heart and Stroke Ball Digital Experience will be Thursday, February 18. KMTV 3 is a proud sponsor and Anchor Jennifer Griswold will co-emcee.