Norah Murphy, after her first heart surgery.

Second heart surgery gives Yarrow family hope

Yarrow girl, three, inspires family to fundraise regularly for BC Children’s

Norah Murphy is a bit of a superstar in Yarrow.

The young girl is just at the cusp of turning four, but has already captured the hearts of people around her community through her perseverance and strength. Norah was only three months old when her family doctor first heard a heart murmur through the stethoscope.

Heart murmurs aren’t always significant, he told the Murphy family. This was their third child, and parents Robbie and Shannon confidently decided to wait it out, to see if the murmur would disappear on its own.

“A lot of the time they correct themselves,” Shannon says. “We kind of waited, because she was sleeping well and breastfeeding.”

But at her five-month checkup, the murmur was still there. They were sent to BC Children’s Hospital on an urgent referral, and within 12 days the Murphys were handing their little bundle of joy over for heart surgery.

“The best way to describe it is if her aorta is a paper towel, with a crush in the middle,” says Shannon, over a cup of coffee, Norah playing quietly at the table beside her. It’s called a coarctation of the aorta, which is the main artery to the heart.

“She was five and a half months old,” Shannon says. “I wondered if she would live through it.”

To get to Norah’s heart, surgeons had to collapse her lung, dislocate a rib, and go through the side of her chest. Norah indeed lived through the surgery, and even battled off pneumonia that attacked her weakened lung.

There was a GoFundMe account initially started for the family, as they struggled to care for their child in and out of hospital. The once-confident parents had to relearn the basics of caring for their baby without disturbing her chest as she healed. Everything from changing diapers to nursing took more time and care, which they eagerly mastered.

And as Norah grew stronger, her older sisters and the community rallied around her, fundraising for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Her sisters, nine-year-old Maddie and seven-year-old Layla, even cut their hair as donations for the hospital’s wig program. And the family grows plants each spring for a garage-sale style fundraiser. Each of the sisters has raised $200, for a total of $600.

“She’s like a celebrity,” Shannon says, and on Facebook their followers search out news with the phrase “#teamnorahmurphy.”

And then just this February she went through her second surgery. That was an ASD correction to fix one or two holes that needed correcting in her heart. However during the surgery, they found that she had five holes in her heart.

The surgery involved placing a permanent device in her heart.

“Is she in the clear? We don’t know,” Shannon says. “It’s just a matter of how she does.”

Norah will continue to visit Children’s yearly, as she and her heart continue to grow.

“It’s been a journey for sure,” Shannon says. “We’ve been so blessed by so many people.”

No matter what surgeries or procedures Norah faces in the future, her family intends to continue supporting the hospital in any way they can.

“For them to able to be there, caring for kids all day and still go home to their families, and have so much compassion…” she says. “It’s just a whole different world when your life is altered by a disease.”

The BC Children’s Hospital Foundation has just wrapped up their popular Choices Lottery, but there are numerous ways to support the hospital. It is the province’s only full-service, pediatric acute care hospital, serving the one million children living in B.C. and the Yukon.

For more information, visit bcchf.ca.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Norah Murphy has become a bit of superstar in Yarrow, her hometown near Chilliwack. (Submitted)

The Murphy family fundraises regularly for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, after their youngest daughter Norah was saved through two heart surgeries.

Just Posted

PHOTO: Rain in the forecast Sunday, sun expected by Tuesday in Chilliwack

Chilliwack has been treated to fairly warm and dry weather over the past two weeks

PHOTOS: Hand-made creations galore at Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market

The 45th annual event features 180 vendors and is a fundraiser for the Chilliwack Community Arts Council

Warrant issued for Chilliwack prolific offender

Do not attempt to apprehend David Allen Geoghegan, 29, police caution

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

VIDEO: New supportive housing in Chilliwack almost ready to welcome residents

Grand opening Friday saw dignitaries join with health, policing, and housing reps on Trethewey

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Dallas Smith, Terri Clark to perform on CP Holiday Train’s B.C. stops

Annual festive food bank fundraiser rolling across province from Dec. 11 to 17

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Paul Bissonnette joins Vancouver Warriors after tweeting he could walk on to an NLL club

Bissonnette will join the Warriors for their final week of training camp at Rogers Arena

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Body found after SUV found fully engulfed in flames in Abbotsford field

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team have been called in

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Most Read