January 13 1991
December 10 2002

Heather Mae Bonham was born on January 13,1991…
what a wonderful day it was. She was everything I could have wished for and more. She weighed 8 lbs and 1 oz and was 21 ½ inches long. The very next day our world came crashing down all around us. A few hours after Heather was born she started to cry in the nursery, and she then turned blue or dusky color as they called it. The nurse that tended her right after she was born told us she heard a heart murmur but that they usually go away in a couple of days. Well after she had the blue episode or cyanotic episode as it is called, a pediatric cardiologist was called in. The very next day an Echocardiogram was preformed and we were given the bad news. Heather was born with a Congenital Heart Defect called Tetrology of Fallot.

The Dr. told us that this defect could be corrected with one surgery and to see him in two weeks. The first six months of her life were filled with doctor appointments and lots of love, she was the apple of everyone’s eye. When Heather was 6 months old the Dr. told us that she would need a temporary surgery because she was growing so fast, and that they usually didn’t correct this defect until the child was at least 2 years of age. So Heather had her first surgery, everything seemed to be going well, then 3 days later she had to have her second surgery to clear out the shunt that was placed in her heart just 3 days earlier. When Heather was 14 months old she developed a very bad ear infection and it didn’t seem to matter what antibiotic the Dr. gave her it didn’t seem to go away.
Well the simple ear infection caused what is called Sub-Bacterial Endocarditis in Heather’s heart.

At this time the Dr. decided to do partial correction on her heart, and wait until she was a little older to completely correct her heart. When Heather was 20 months old the VSD was closed in her heart and we were told that she was fully corrected and could live a very normal life. Well this thrilled us beyond words. My husband and I never put restrictions on Heather’s activities, always wanting her to be able to do anything any normal kid could do, and boy did she. Heather was thrilled to become a big sister just 5 days after her third birthday, her sister Danielle was born on January 18, 1994. They became instant best friends, although they fought like most sisters do, they shared a deep love for each other,
always came to each other’s defense.

In 1996 I took Heather for a cardiologist check up. It was determined that her heart was beating too fast and that she had developed arrhythmia problems. After a heart cath the doctors told us that she would need another surgery, this time they were going to put in a artificial pulmonary valve to replace the defective one and a pacemaker to control her arrhythmia’s. Heather had her 5th and final surgery in May 1996, she developed complications but came home one month afterwards. She started Kindergarten in Sept. 1996, and everything seemed very normal. Check up after check up came back good, the doctors told us that Heather’s heart was strong and she was in excellent health.

In 1998 Heather attended Camp Del Corazon for the very first time. This is a camp for kids with heart disease. The camp is fully staffed by doctors and nurses who use their own personnel vacation time during the summer to take heart kids to Catalina Island for 5 days. There they learn that there are other kids out there just like them, and they don’t have to feel different. Heather loved Camp and this would have been her 5th year going back. This organization is totally non-profit and is run with contributions, donations and lots and lots of love!!!!

Heather lived life to the fullest always, there was nothing she wouldn’t try or do. Heather started 6th grade in Sept. 2002 and she was excited. Then on December 10, 2002 while at school Heather collapsed in the hallway during P.E. and was gone. Heather touched so many lives with her faith. A memorial was held at her school (Maranatha Christian Academy, Costa Mesa California) the day after she went home to be with Jesus. The message that was relayed to the kids was “You have to be ready at any time”, just like Heather was. I have no doubt in my mind that when Jesus came calling my little girl took his hand and walked with him, not afraid but excited. Heather changed a lot of lives with her faith, her memorial and the article (click on link to article) in the paper got people thinking about their walk with God. I am so proud and honored to be
the mother of such a spiritual little girl

My life will be changed forever because of this incredible little girl. She taught me so much about life in her short 11 years. She is so loved and will be forever missed but we know that she is walking the Golden Streets with our Lord Jesus Christ. We miss Heather so much at times the pain is almost unbearable. She will live in our hearts forever, and when it’s our turn to go to Heaven she will get the biggest hugs ever!!! See You Soon Sweetie Pie

Mommy, Daddy & Sissy and all your family Love You
More Then Words Can Ever Say.

Meet Heather

Written To Heather          Heathers Story in the Newspaper

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© Penny Parker

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