Sydney Mitchell and her mother Shawna Dunn.

Every day is a gift for Golden family

At the age of 11, Sydney Mitchell has already faced many challenges in her life.

At the age of 11, Sydney Mitchell has already faced many challenges in her life. Before she was born, Sydney was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

“Essentially she was missing one of the ventricles of the chambers of her heart,” said her mother Shawna Dunn, who was born and raised in Golden.

The family spent most of her first year in Edmonton. Sydney had her first heart surgery at 10-days-old and then a second one at nine months.

Things were going well for Sydney until the age of two when she went into massive congestive heart failure and needed a new heart.

The family moved to Edmonton, and just before her third birthday she got a heart just in time.

“We were very fortunate. Sydney did well until 2007 when she had her first heart attack,” Shawna said. At this point, Sydney had to get a pacemaker which seemed to resolve the problems up until about a year and a half ago, when Sydney was diagnosed with coronary heart disease which Shawna said many people associate with older people.

The day before a Cops for Kids event in Golden in 2011, Sydney had another heart attack and ended up back in Edmonton

Right now Sydney is doing alright and the family is waiting to see how long it will be before she gets re-listed for another heart.

“We do not know from one week to the next where we are going to be,” Shawna said.

The family has received  a great deal of help from different people, businesses, and through donations over the years which have been a great help for the family. Recently the family received a cheque in the amount of $571.20 to help cover medical costs, on behalf of the Golden McDonalds and the Golden Farmer’s Market.

“It was a really big undertaking for Dallas (Matheson)…I want to thank her for her help,” said Shawna.

McDonalds donated coffee to the indoor farmer’s market held at  the Mt 7 Rec Plex. Visitors to the market were able to purchase coffee and used books by donation to help Sydney.

“Everything has been helpful. Cops for Kids has made a difference and many other groups,” Shawna said.

The family has also held samosa sales on Facebook which have been very successful.

“They have been very wonderful,” Shawna said. Sydney will be heading to transplant camp soon where the family will get to meet some other families who are going through the same issues.

“Every day is a gift,” Shawna said.