Born with three heart malformations, Élissa was diagnosed with congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart muscle that usually leads to heart failure. Although she has undergone three different surgeries since she was born, she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Chu Saint Justine Hospital in Montreal on September 29, 2015 with a heart function of less than 30%.
Élissa’s parents were required to quit their jobs and relocate to Montreal 150km from the family’s home in St-Denis de Brompton to be by Élissa’s side. On Feb 17, 2016, Élissa was placed on a Berlin Heart, a pediatric ventricular assist device for the critically ill, until a donor could be found. Suffering several complications, Élissa’s condition was very unstable. With heart function at a mere 13% Élissa’s parents received the news they were so desperate to hear. A donor heart had been found for Élissa.
On March 29th 2016 Élissa underwent a life-saving heart transplant. The David Foster Foundation is very proud to have been able to support the family with accommodations, meals, parking, and some household expenses so they could be together to support one another during their wait, and Elissa’s recovery. Today Élissa is back home in St-Denis de Brompton with her family. Élissa’s parents continue to advocate for the need for others to become registered organ donors to help save more lived like their beautiful daughter’s donor did.