There’s nothing sweeter

In the spring of 2019, an ultrasound appointment changed Jen’s life forever. In utero, Jen’s daughter Claira was diagnosed with multiple life-threatening heart defects.

Jen and her husband Ben did not know what to do with the weight of this news. “I broke down and even to this day thinking about it, that’s one of the hardest memories,” said Jen.

Claira was born with only one working ventricle and her two main arteries reversed. She also was diagnosed with pulmonary atresia, inhibiting blood flow to her lungs. While her conditions were complex, knowing about them ahead of Claira’s birth meant that a world-class team of medical experts awaited her when she entered the world.

At seven days old, Claira had her first open-heart surgery, where a shunt was put in to allow blood flow. Months later, she returned for another surgery that would help carry oxygen throughout her body.

These procedures were successful and today regular check-ups bring great relief to Jen and her family, ensuring Claira’s condition is stable. In a few years, she will return for her last surgery to repair her heart ventricle.

Claira’s journey has been an inspiration to her aunt, Becky, a District Manager at Purdys Chocolatier. Knowing the
difference the hospital makes for children like Claira, the family was delighted to learn that Purdys was supporting
BC Children’s Hospital through its Dear Santa campaign, which raised over $140,000 in 2021.

Jen hopes that Purdys and the campaign donors know they are changing lives. “I want anyone, not just heart families, but any family at BC Children’s Hospital to know that they are in the right place…that these teams are doing the best for your kids.”


This article was originally featured in the Spring 2022 issue of Shine magazine.
Shine Spring 2022 | Download the PDF

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