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253 days later, Dyer toddler receives heart transplant

By Cara Zarecor


Chelsea Cunningham and her fiance Zach Hopper had a prayer answered late this past Saturday night. Their two-and-a-half-year-old son, Lincoln, after a long 253-day stay at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, would finally get a new heart.

Cunningham posted the good news on Facebook Sunday morning which reads, “Please say a prayer for us. We are so excited but we are so scared. Please pray Lincoln’s surgery goes as perfect as possible. And most importantly please say a prayer for the family, that in their most painful time, selflessly made the decision to donate. After 253 days, Lincoln is getting his second chance at life.”

We have followed Lincoln’s medical journey since his stay at LeBonheur began on September 7, 2019.

Lincoln was born with Heterotaxy Syndrome, a rare birth defect that signifies altered arrangement of the heart and other organs. Lincoln’s primary issue with the defect has been a condition called dextrocardia, where in his case, his single-ventricle heart lies on the right side of his chest rather than on the left.

Angie Jones, Lincoln’s maternal grandmother, was kind enough to give us another update on Lincoln back in mid-March, after Lincoln had undergone another surgery to install a VAD (ventricular assistive device). Jones said that the VAD had helped tremendously with Lincoln’s blood flow and oxygen levels, and that despite having to have the assistance of three adults to maneuver the device so that Lincoln could be mobile, he was doing great.

Jones said that Lincoln was taken into surgery at 12:06 p.m. Sunday and that Lincoln’s new heart was scheduled to arrive around 4:30 p.m. The surgery was expected to take 10 hours to complete.

Sunday night, Cunningham posted, “Heart is in and beating!”

Prayers are very much appreciated for Lincoln and the staff at LeBonheur who are caring for him and his entire family. Please also remember that you can help the Hopper family with their expenses by stopping by or mailing a check made out to the “Love for Lincoln” account at Centennial Bank in Rutherford.


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