Walker was born a healthy 7lb 15oz baby boy. The fourth child for Nick and Holly and their first son. Walker spent some of the first days of his life (at his mother's side) on the oncology floor of St. Louis Children's Hospital while his sister Roxie's diagnosis and plan for treatment were unfolding. One week from the day he was born, Walker became uncomfortable, listless and ultimately began struggling to breathe. Mom and Walker were rushed to the Emergency Room from Roxie’s room on the 9th floor. For the next two hours, a team of doctors and healthcare professionals worked to stabilize Walker and uncover the underlying issue. They discovered that Walker had a Coarctation of the Aorta, a narrowing of the aorta, the large blood vessel that branches off your heart and delivers oxygen-rich blood to your body. When this occurs, the heart must pump harder to force blood through the narrow part of your aorta. Walker was admitted to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) and scheduled for a surgery to correct the coarctation the following day. He spent several more days recovering from surgery in the CICU and then was moved to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for the next couple of weeks until he was well enough to return into the care of his mom and dad.
Today Walker is as rambunctious as any 3 year old. There are no visible signs of his dramatic start to this life other than his scar from surgery. Walker loves to try and keep up with his three big sisters. He enjoys trains, reading, time outside and being at school with his friends. With all the chatting that goes on around him at home, he has a BIG vocabulary for a little guy and always makes sure his voice is heard. Walker puts a smile on anyone's face who meets him. He's a great kid, with a huge (healthy) heart!