The first two months of Kellan’s life were spent in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where the nurses and Cardiology NICU staff became like family.

Kellan’s parents trusted Dr. John Lamberti. They knew he would do everything possible to save their son once he was born and they were right.

In October 2009, two weeks into her pregnancy, Kellan’s mom, Christina, and dad, Terrance, learned that their unborn son had a hole in his heart. At 22 weeks, yet another problem was discovered: Kellan’s aortic arch was not formed completely (interrupted), and his aortic valve was on the small side.

The physicians at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego gave the couple two options: they could end the pregnancy or have the baby and hope that surgery would fix his heart. They chose to proceed with the pregnancy.

When Kellan was just 4 days old, Dr. Lamberti performed the first successful surgery. Christina and Terrance remember how they had to rely on Dr. Lamberti’s knowledge and experience, along with the technology at Rady Children’s, in the hopes of saving their son. 

The first two months of Kellan’s life were spent in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where the nurses and Cardiology NICU staff became like family, making the experience special for Terrance and Christina. “Kellan was being monitored and cared for by the most amazing group of nurses,” Christina says. “Our friends and family were not able to visit due to swine flu virus, so the Cardiology NICU team became our family.” 

One heart reconstruction surgery, one pacemaker surgery and one G-tube surgery later, Kellan was able to go home.

Kellan is now 4 and doing great. Since his time in the Hospital, he has gone back for ultrasounds, EKGs, pacemaker checkups, and X-rays about every three to six months. Right after Kellan’s first birthday, his G-tube came out, so he can now eat like other kids.

In November 2011, Kellan had a surgery to replace his aortic valve. “Dr. Lamberti performed what we can only describe as a miracle because he was able to salvage his valve and just make it a little bigger,” Christina says.

Christina and Terrance were cautioned that Kellan might have learning disabilities and trouble keeping up physically with other kids his age, but they are not worried. “So far we have not seen him slow down one bit,” Christina says. “At his evaluation when he was 2 years old, Kellan scored at a 32-month-old speech level, and he walks around SeaWorld all day without a stroller.”

Christina and Terrance are relying on Rady Children’s to provide the services to meet Kellan’s needs for the next 10 years or longer, until he one day needs his aortic valve replaced again. They are grateful for his care and all that the Hospital has done for their family.

“He has been an absolute blessing to us, and because of the care and treatment he receives from Rady Children’s, we have the opportunity to live a normal, happy life,” Christina says. “We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for letting us share our story.”