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Calista's Story

Friday, November 16, 2012

Memories Captured By Bittersweet Photography

Tiny Light Calista is only four years old but she is wise beyond her years. Her mom Belinda calls her “an old soul in a young little body.” But this strong little girl is always ready with a smile on her face and a light in her eyes, regardless of what she has to endure.

At five weeks old, Calista started having feeding issues and turning blue. After repeated visits to the doctor over the next few months, she was rushed to the ER with an enlarged heart. Parents Belinda and Randy were told their daughter had dilated cardiomyopathy and she was in severe heart failure. Eventually, Calista would need a heart transplant. At a year old, she took a turn for the worse and ended up in the Critical Care Unit at SickKids. Six weeks later, on her 14-month birthday, Calista got her new heart.

Calista has just started junior kindergarten. She loves to dance and shake her bum. She enjoys arts and crafts. She is also an amateur karaoke superstar who has an eclectic taste in music - Lady Gaga, the Beach Boys, Linkin Park and Broadway songs.

The most difficult part of the journey for this family is the uncertainty of Calista’s future. “People assume she is cured, but that’s not the case.” She will be on immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of her life, leaving her at high risk for infections, viruses and certain types of cancer. But this Tiny Light is an inspiration with an amazing ability to touch every person she meets. That keeps her parents going. “I want her to live as happy and healthy a life as possible. I want her to dream, have hopes and goals.”

Written by Elaine Yong


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