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  • Writer's pictureScarlett Callahan

Mission Moment | Juliette's Journey

Updated: Apr 18

Juliette's first emergency room visit was in April 2023, when she was just three months old. During her first week in daycare, Juliette caught a virus and began having trouble breathing. Her parents took her to the ER, where x-rays of her lungs showed no cause for concern, so the family was sent home. 

This happened three more times in one month. On the fourth visit, Julie, Juliette's mom, asked the doctor why her daughter's heart looked so enlarged on the X-ray. Mother’s instinct prompted the medical team to keep her for observation overnight. 

The following day, Juliette’s doctor called Children's Hospital Colorado, and they suggested an echocardiogram. The diagnostic test showed Juliette’s heart was barely pumping; she was experiencing heart failure. Julie remembers, “Her dad and I stayed the night with her. I thought they'd send us home like they did before. We never expected it because every visit before, everything looked fine, plus she was gaining weight and hitting her milestones. We were shocked.” 

Juliette and her mom had to relocate to Children’s Hospital Colorado in June. Julie’s partner and two older daughters stayed home in Carbondale to continue their work and school responsibilities. Fortunately, a hospital social worker referred Julie to Brent’s Place, where she would have a safe, clean, comfortable home away from home to rest when not bedside in Juliette's hospital room. 

On the second day in the hospital, Juliette went into cardiac arrest. A dangerously irregular heartbeat prompted her medical team to place her on a machine to aid her heart's function for 16 days. She later needed a cardiac device implanted in her chest to help her heart pump blood throughout her body. Juliette's condition was dire. The only true chance for survival was a heart transplant.

After being on the transplant list for nearly a year, Juliette received her second chance at a healthy childhood in the form of a new heart on March 19, 2024.

Her mom, fondly reports, “She is doing so well. She is getting adjusted to being out of the hospital since she was just four months old when she went in. She’s so aware of everything going around her, all of the noises."

Julie had become accustomed to life as a caregiver of a chronically ill baby, heading to the hospital early in the morning and returning home to Brent's Place late at night. Since being discharged from the hospital, Julie and Juliette have spent their time together snuggling and playing without the constant constraint and alarm of the hospital machines. "She is so cuddly—it’s so quiet, just her and me, without the nurses and the machines,” Julie reflected.

Julie adjusted Juliette’s tiara and shared, “We are just so lucky Brent’s Place exists so patients with transplant kiddos can be here. Having a safe and clean place to stay the whole time - a year and a half for us - has been the biggest blessing. Knowing that when your kid is discharged, they'll be safe here - it’s special. I know some states don’t have an option like this. I appreciate the meals, too. Having food after being at the hospital all day has been a huge relief. Breakfast on Fridays is the best!” 

Some of Julie's best memories of Brent’s Place were formed far from the hospital walls when her older daughters and her partner visited. Julie says, “Brent's Place helped us experience so many places! The museum, a Rockies game, zoo lights. It was a nice break to leave the hospital and experience the city as a family." 

With Juliette tucked safely in her arms, her mom remembers, “It takes a toll on you being at the hospital all the time. It’s so hard seeing the same kids every day and then not seeing them anymore, still hoping your child will get better.” 

We invite you to join us in wishing Julie and Juliette continued healing and a safe reunion with their family.

Join Brent's Place in ensuring that families facing a medical crisis have a sanctuary to call home during their most challenging time by getting involved today!

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