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Foundation Stories > Defying the Odds
Evie Hart was given less than a five percent chance of survival at birth. Today, the now four-year-old continues to fight the insurmountable odds against her.

COLUMBIA, MO – Four-year-old Evie Hart knows a thing or two about defying the odds. Born four-months early, Evie came into this world weighing a mere one pound, five ounces. She is considered a micro preemie – a baby born before 23 weeks gestation. Many, specifically medical professionals, were not expecting her to stay around very long. Doctors cautiously informed Evie’s mother, Veronica, about the unfavorable odds. Little Evie had a five percent chance for survival and given the miracle she did survive, she would endure dozens of challenging health complications.

However, doctors could not predict Evie’s fighting spirit. Not only did she meet every bleak expectation, she surpassed them and touched the lives of many along the way. “We still have contact with almost all of her nurses, and doctors…She made everyone smile. She really inspired them, and I hear them talk about her often,” explained Veronica.

Evie spent the first nine months of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. During her stay, she had six surgeries, 15 blood transfusions, hundreds of x-rays and more. She lived on a ventilator and was tube fed for a majority of her time in the hospital. Due to these exhausting but necessary medical procedures, Evie received a tracheotomy. Since then, doctors have decided Evie will need to undergo Tracheal Reconstruction Surgery. Using her rib cartilage, they plan to open her throat and completely reconstruct her trachea, an extremely dangerous procedure. Fortunately, Veronica located the number one specialist in the world for Evie’s needed surgery at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He gladly agreed to perform the surgery as soon as time allowed. However, one thing stood in the way: distance. Cincinnati was hundreds of miles away from Veronica and Evie’s current home in Southern Illinois and multiple trips to the new hospital would be in order.

As a single mother and full time care giver, Veronica had little assistance for travel expenses. She has spent many years determined to improve her daughter’s quality of life. “I strive to give her normality in life. She is now in pre‚Äźschool, she has the cognitive ability of a six-year-old, she can read, speak sign language, do math, spell eight letter long words and make anyone’s day better,” Veronica explained. Still, Evie has a long way to go. She remains on-and-off of oxygen and lacks the ability to communicate verbally. The trips to Cincinnati were necessary in order to enhance the life of a deserving little girl.

That’s where Veterans United Foundation stepped in. After accomplishing so much, distance was going to be the last thing to stop the strong-willed Evie Hart and her family. With the financial assistance from Veterans United employees, Evie and her family have been able to comfortably make the trip between their home in Illinois and the Children’s Hospital in Ohio.

Evie recently had her surgery on December 2nd, 2013, and is in the process of recovering. She has already begun to make progress by making noises and attempting small phrases. She will continue to receive monthly check ups in Cincinnati as well as undergo another significant surgery in the near future. At this time, the family hopes to have the tracheal tube removed and Evie on her way to a full recovery.

There are many things to look forward to for Evie and her supportive family. “I just cannot wait for the day when I can finally hear her say ‘Mom’ or ‘I love you,” stated Veronica. “Thank you for all you have done to help us! You have allowed us to make this process a reality.”

Veterans United Foundation is proud to support four-year-old Evie in all of her journeys throughout this momentous time. We wish both her and her family continued health and happiness through their lifetime.


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