When the Rancourts sent in their adopted daughter’s complex medical records, Children’s National said, “She’s not terminal. We can save her.”
Emily and Jacques Rancourt of Bristow, Virginia fell in love with 2-year-old Lily Grace from halfway across the world. But doctors in China had labeled her “terminal” because she was born with half of a heart that was upside down, backwards, and on the wrong side of her chest.
Still, the Rancourts wanted to bring Lily Grace home. First, they would bring her to Children’s National Health System.
Lily Grace began a challenging course of treatment at Children’s National soon after arriving in the U.S., but her half-formed heart continued to struggle moving enough oxygen-rich blood through her body for Lily Grace to grow, run, or play. Additional complications arose because her right lung was unable to produce oxygen, and all of Lily Grace’s major organs were mirrored from their usual positions in the body.
Lily Grace spent much of her first two years in the United States at Children’s National and underwent numerous procedures, including two open-heart surgeries – all the while, waiting for a heart transplant. Finally, her “hero’s heart” came, and Lily Grace received her life-saving transplant at Children’s National.
Before her transplant, playing with her sisters left Lily Grace struggling to breathe. Now, because of her care at Children’s National, Lily Grace runs in the annual Children’s National Race for Every Child 5K, often out-pacing the rest of her family.
“I tell them they have to keep running,” Lily Grace says with a smile.
For a little girl who’s been fighting for her life, all of her life, the Rancourt family is happy to run a little faster.