St. Paul family seeks help as granddaughter faces another heart surgery

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A St. Paul family is asking for the community's help as they raise funds for their granddaughter’s surgery.

She was born with several heart defects and has undergone a number of surgeries. Now, they just found out she has to have another heart surgery at just two years old.

We first spoke with her grandmother last year when she called saying they were doing a fundraiser to help with surgery number four. She and her husband own a Dairy Queen in St. Paul, and she got on the roof and sang as part of the fundraising event. This year, she plans to do the same, to be a voice for little Edleigh.

"She’s not just going to change my life, she’s going to change a lot of lives," says grandmother Karen Plaisted.

Edleigh Plaisted's grandparents say to know her is to know the power of a heart.

"She has been amazing all throughout this process," her grandfather adds.

At just two years old, Edleigh – or Eddy Bear – has been through more than most will go through their entire lives. Born with five heart defects, she's had to have four open-heart surgeries, with the first happening just days after she was born.

"She needed surgery right away. They gave her surgery number one on day seven, and that was a really hard journey," Karen tells us.

The year to follow consisted of three more surgeries. The fourth, at Boston's Children’s Hospital, with an airplane ride alone costing tens of thousands.

"That was the miracle one. We came back, and she was just running and started walking, and she can talk now," said Karen.

This month, doctors tell the family they’ll have to now prepare for surgery number five.

"This is about being powerless. We don’t get to be in the operating room, we don’t get to decide how the outcome is."

They can stay positive – and do what they can to help alleviate some of the financial burden left on the family.

"As she grows this is kind of an ongoing journey, but it’s just been more than challenging and quite overwhelming as the bills stack up. This is surgery number five and she’s just two...She is definitely the heart warrior for sure."

More information:

Edleigh Plaisted was born on June 27th 2017 with a hypoplastic left heart, atrioventricular septal defect (a large hole in the center of the heart), aortic arch stenosis, and an enlarged pulmonary artery. 
Her first heart surgery happened just seven days after she was born. During her third open-heart surgery, doctors discovered Edleigh had another double orifice mitral valve. 

The fundraiser will take place on Saturday, September 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Dairy Queen at 565 Earl Street in St. Paul. Karen Plaisted will climb on the roof and sing at 2 p.m. There will be live music, free games, toys, candy, and a coloring table so families can make Eddy "get well soon" cards.

More information on the fundraiser is available here.