Ohana Hearts

Support education, research, program needs, and patient care within pediatric cardiology, particularly related to the Single Ventricle program.

Ohana Hearts turtle logo

Riley Brooke has been her family’s inspiration to create the Ohana Hearts Fund as a way to help give back to UF Health Shands Hospital for patient care, education and program needs in pediatric cardiology, particularly in the Single Ventricle program.

Riley was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a complex congenital heart condition where the left side of her heart did not develop properly affecting normal blood flow through the heart.

Her family was fortunate to receive her diagnosis in utero at their 18-week anatomy scan. This gave them the opportunity to research the best hospitals for her best outcome, and that’s where they went, to UF Health Shands Hospital.

“The comfort and care we received from every nurse and doctor made the preparation for each procedure less scary for the day Riley was going to be coming Earth-side,” the Brooke family shared.

Riley was born December 2018, and six days after she was born she went into her first open heart surgery, the Norwood procedure. After her recovery and once the family was settled at home, they were given an iPad to monitor Riley’s vitals virtually.

“We lived four hours from Gainesville, so it was a great comfort during the interstage time that her doctors could see every progression Riley was making,” the family said.

“These tools are so essential in the single ventricle program where every patient has a delicate heart defect. So other funds and grants were able to support families like us.”

Riley’s second surgery was performed when she was 6 months old. The family will plan her third surgery, the Fontan, after she turns 4 years old.

Riley is currently in school, thriving and growing into a fun beautiful little girl. Her CHD has not slowed her down one bit, and her mother feels Riley has strengthened their family’s faith and made them stronger knowing Riley can do anything.

“We know she will grow to be such a great advocate for education on single ventricle congenital heart defects,” her mother said.

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