One Heartfelt Gift

Every Friday night the Huff’s love to sit around and talk about their week. That tradition had to be put on hold when one member of the family started to feel ill.

“I couldn’t really run as well as the other kids because my chest always started hurting,” said 13-year old, Allie Huff. “I thought I was kind of normal but I found out I wasn’t.”

In the winter of 2009, Allie suffered a fainting spell which prompted her parents to see a doctor right away. That’s when they heard the news that changed their lives forever.

“The echo-cardiogram showed an enlarged heart,” said Fran Huff, Allie’s mother. “That large heart was a result of restricted cardiomyopothy (RCM). There is no cure for it, other than a heart transplant.”

The Huff’s say the fainting spell was a blessing in disguise for Allie. RCM disease affects one in one million children, and if Allie’s heart had gone undetected she might not have lived to her 18th birthday.

“You never are going to think something like this is going to effect your child,” said John Huff, Allie’s father.

“We started to look for the blessings and the lessons from every experience we had,” said Fran Huff.

3 months into their stay at Children’s Memorial Hospital, the blessing they were waiting for finally arrived.

“John was on the phone with the doctor and he said ‘they’ve got it’,” said Fran Huff. “We practically fell down on the pavement where we were. It was a moment out of time.”

Allie is one of the 300 children across the nation who received a heart transplant in 2009. There are more than 2,700 children who are on a heart transplant waiting list. The Huff family knows that Allie is one of the lucky ones.

“Miracles still happen whether it is someone making that choice,” said Fran Huff. “It allows families like us to feel normal again, that’s a gift.”


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