~ The Story ~
In 2012 at the age of 9 Lylah Ligon was diagnosed with a rare life-threatening Congenital Coronary Artery Anomaly (CCAA). She was immediately sent home on bed rest to await surgery. Within a couple of months, shortly after her 10th birthday she underwent Open Heart Surgery and spent part of her Christmas holiday in the hospital recovering. While the procedure has improved Lylah's quality of life she still suffers from chest pain episodes and battles mental illness due to her medical condition. Currently, at the age of 18, Lylah is thriving and proud to wear her badge as a CHD Survivor and plans to pursue a career in Veterinary Medicine. At the time of her diagnosis, being pulled from her normal activities and spending the holidays in the hospital definitely proved to be a tough time for Lylah and her family, therefore she has vowed to continue to raise awareness on Congenital Heart Defects and provide support to other CHD Families.
~ The Mission ~
"Team Lylah" was formed one year post-recovery after Lylah decided she wanted to support other CHD Families by visiting those admitted in the hospital during the holidays. Every year since then, "Team Lylah" has hosted a "Celebration of Life" Community Event to celebrate her survival and raise awareness about Congenital Heart Defects and its social and mental health effects on the patient and their families. We collect teddy bears and blanket donations and on Christmas Day "Team Lylah" is granted special access to visit the Cardiology Unit at Texas Children's Hospital to hand-deliver the items room by room and visit with the families tucked away in the hospital during this special time of year. We ultimately hope to play a role in getting laws passed making it mandatory for every school-aged child participating in athletic activities to have a Heart Screening and be cleared of a CHD, as well as, advocating for long-term mental health services for CHD survivors. We also plan to extend our visits to TCH to all major holidays, not just Christmas Day. As we continue to grow, our ultimate mission is to inform the community about the importance of testing for Congenital Heart Defects while providing emotional support to other CHD Families in any way possible.