A Tiny Heart Wins Over Many

1 decade 3 years 11 months ago Sunday, August 20 2006 Aug 20, 2006 Sunday, August 20, 2006 10:22:09 PM CDT August 20, 2006 in News

Luke Schawo is just 14 weeks old, but he's already got a lifetime's worth of medical stories to tell. Twenty years ago he wouldn't have survived, now he's living proof you don't have to die from a broken heart.

"I think I immediately went into shock," said Megan Schawo, Luke's mom. "It was a surreal moment, it's one of those I'm not hearing this moment."

You couldn't tell it now, but at their 22-week ultrasound, Keith and Megan Schawo temporarily lost all confidence in their dream of having a healthy baby.

"Our first thoughts were that our baby was going to die," said Luke's dad Keith.  "Once you get pregnant, the whole thought process is 'we're going to have a healthy baby.' And in that moment we realized that wasn't going to happen."

Who would know this little charmer has two serious and rare heart defects that forced him to undergo open heart surgery at just 13 days old.

"His heart stopped that night, and that's when we thought we lost him," Keith said. "His chest was left open for a week."

Tiny but tough. Luke pulled through and is thriving, easily winning over any adult hearts he encounters despite the fact his little heart still needs two more surgeries in the next few years.

"You see lots of doctors and learn about the heart and take lots of medicine but it's all part of the package of Luke," Megan said. "That's the package we want and the package we love, so we'll take it."

The Schawos couldn't talk enough about how much admiration they have for their tough baby boy.They also wanted other parents to know the initial shock and fear of a heart defect diagnosis does improve with time. Luke's heart problems are some of the more severe and Megan says you wouldn't know he even has a heart condition except for the scar on his chest.

The 11th annual Columbia Heart walk is this coming Saturday, August 26 at Stephens Lake Park. Registration starts at 8:00 a.m. and the walk starts at 8:30.

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