Six months ago, Brynslet Sellers was like other 2-year-olds, ready to play with her siblings or dress up in princess dresses and tiaras. In February, however, she was diagnosed with heart failure.
Since then, Brynslet has waited at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for a heart transplant.
“She has about 10 percent of her heart functioning right now,” family friend Jodee Carlen Adams said. “Amanda and Tommy (her parents) had taken her to the doctor for a cold. She wasn’t getting better, so Amanda took her back to the doctor the next day. They did an X-ray and found out her heart was enlarged, so she was taken to Savannah. There, they found out she was in heart failure.”
The Sellers were forced to leave their baby in an Atlanta hospital because they have to work and take care of Brynslet’s two sisters and brother. Until now, Adams said the Sellers had worked separate shifts so they didn’t have to pay for childcare or leave their children without one of them at home.
The experience has been an education for those involved, including Adams, who said there’s a lot more to a heart transplant than the surgery. The donor’s heart must match the recipient in size, blood type and other important issues, she said.
Adams said doctors have told the family there are no medications or surgical procedures that will improve Brynslet’s condition. She said Brynslet is number one on the pediatric heart transplant list, but even if a donor is found, there are lots of risks with the surgery.
Adams said she’s learned that as Brynslet grows, the transplanted heart would grow with her. She would have to stay on medications, a specific diet and exercise. But she would have hope for normal life. That’s what her parents pray for, Adams said.
But they need financial help, she said.
Medical bills are piling up, and there are frequent trips to Atlanta. Money is needed for food, gas and utility bills. It’s more money than a mill worker like Tommy or bartender like Amanda can afford, so Adams and her husband, along with friends Brandon Dunn and Melissa Christopher are planning a fundraiser for next month.
“Amanda works for me,” said Adams, who with her husband Tyrone, own the Colleseum Sports Palace and Grill. “We’re all like family.”
The Adamses, Dunn and Christopher are planning softball games at the James A. Brown Park on Aug. 30. Team entry will cost $200. That and raffle tickets will be sold for donated items to support Brynslet and her family.
“This event has many volunteers from the community that truly believe this is what communities should be about, helping one another,” Adams said. “I have five children and five grandchildren. We almost lost one grandbaby when she was 6 weeks old, and we lost a granddaughter when she was only 5 months old. We know what it’s like to go to the hospital and sit there, watching and praying.”
Adams has started the Brynslet Sellers Heart Fund. She said anyone interested in donating can contact her at 570-1273 or email@example.com.