One in a hundred

I never would have thought or expected it.  A few hours after Abigail was born and the pediatrician came to examine her I heard the words “heart murmur”. I didn’think any thing of it. Heart murmurs can be a normal thing right? My worries went away when no follow up was scheduled. “She must be fine” I thought. 

Time passed and I talked to some friends. They told me to schedule an appointment with our pediatrician to double check. Sometimes heart murmurs can be a sign of bigger problems. I started to get nervous and set up an appointment. They day came and for sure I was told, yes, that’s a large heart murmur. And then he said “I think she has a hole in her heart.”

We had to go to the other side of the country to see a pediatric cardiologist. There is not a single one in Arusha. We sat in an overcrowded room of people with all sorts of different heart problems and waited for our number to be called. When we finally got in with the Dr and saw and heard Abigail’s heart during her echocardiogram we knew something was wrong. What the Dr said next tore my heart into a thousand pieces.

“She has a large hole and a moderate hole in her heart. There is no way they will be able to heal on their own. Surgery is your only option.”

My heart sank and the tears started leaking out of my eyes. How is this possible? Why my little girl? Why was she the 1 in 100 to be born with these Congenital heart defects. There is no reason or any answers to why her. There is still no known cause for congenital heart defects. 

Abigail is almost 6 months old. She is barely 11 lbs. Because of these holes in her heart, her heart is constantly in overdrive making it very hard to gain weight. It’s like she’s running a marathon all the time. Since our appointment in January she has been on diuretics to help prevent heart failure. She gets tired when nursing and so it’s hard for her to even get full. She still needs to nurse every 2 hours to be satisfied.

I have spent hours and hours researching where we could have surgery. It’s not an easy thing here in East Africa. We have found a mission hospital outside of Nairobi Kenya through a friend. They have an American surgeon team coming the first week of May and have already put Abigail on the schedule. The only thing standing in the way of our daughter having this life saving surgery is $3500.

The place where I have volunteered during my three and a half years here in Tanzania, has offered to help fundraise with us. Please message me or email me at for a way to donate that is tax deductible. If you don’t care about that, feel free to donate at

Thank you for your prayers and support to save Abigail’s life.


9 thoughts on “One in a hundred

  1. Ashley LeFiles

    I would like to make a donation, but would prefer to do it through Paypal, not the online portal via Neema House. I realize it will not be tax deductible. Can I send a donation through your Paypal on this page?

  2. Patricia Crowder

    I’ve sent a donation through PayPal too. Can you keep us posted on the collection amount because I would like to give more when I can.

  3. mwigen67

    Kelly… I cannot imagine the heartache of having such a sick little one. I have donated through the Neema site and will continue to ask God’s blessings on Abigail and you and Dickson as you make your journey through this. I was so happy to hear you were able to arrange this surgery at the mission hospital in Kenya. I know $3500 dollars seems like an enormous sum to you, but I feel in my heart that the many who know and love you will find it in their hearts to make this happen for Abigail… and the small gifts of many will turn into the large gift she needs. ❤️

  4. Patricia Crowder

    Hi Kelly,
    Can you give us an update on sweet Abigail and on how much more is needed for her surgery? I’m praying a miracle for her.

    1. Hi Patricia, thank you for checking. Last I heard (almost a week ago) we were just $800 away from our goal. I know a few more donations came in after that, not sure of the full amount yet, waiting to hear from the bookkeeper, but I would think we would be within $200-300 left is all!

      Thank you so much for your prayers. Once we meet with the Dr and have a surgery date I will be sure to update.

      1. Patricia Crowder

        That is great to hear! I’m so glad the goal has almost been met. With God all things are possible. Your family is in my prayers. My heart goes out to sweet Abigail.

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