Gut-wrenching photos of toddler who died waiting for heart transplant hit home for photographer

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Suha Dabit, founder of “World of Broken Hearts,” photographs families during the most vulnerable times in their lives to help spread awareness for congenital heart disease (CHD) and organ donation. The mission is painfully personal for her. She, too, has a daughter who would not have survived without a heart donation.

“After five and a half months of waiting, we received the call. They found a perfect match, a whole, four ventricle heart, her lifesaving gift, a new chance at life. After nearly six months of waiting and praying, we were able to bring Nadia home again. This is why I became a photographer. Some CHD babies never leave the hospital after they are born, and taking photos, let alone professional photos of them, is the last thing on a family’s mind. I know this because I have been there. I wanted other families to have portraits they could hold on to and cherish forever.

When I enter the rooms of the pediatric intensive care units, I capture the souls of these little fighters. Each one of them has a unique story and each one deserves to be told and heard. I am hoping to shed more light on the number one disease that claims so many lives and to inspire people to become organ donors. If through my work I touch just one person to become a donor, eight lives can possibly be saved.”

World Of Broken Hearts/Photographer Suha Dabit

Dabit shared these deeply emotional photos of a precious 2-year-old who passed away while waiting for a heart transplant on her Facebook page to encourage others to donate and spread congenital heart defect awareness. 

“I could tell you about the approximately 40,000 babies that are born every year with a congenital heart defect. That is roughly 1 in 100 newborns, every year.

World Of Broken Hearts/Photographer Suha Dabit

I could tell you about the half a heart that Adalynn was born with or many other different congenital heart defects that affect so many children across the globe.

World Of Broken Hearts/Photographer Suha Dabit

I could tell you about how underfunded CHD research is.

World Of Broken Hearts/Photographer Suha Dabit

I could tell you how babies with CHD’s require a heart transplant at some point in their lives, why and what you could do to help.

World Of Broken Hearts/Photographer Suha Dabit

I could tell you that Adalynn is one of the 20 people that die every day waiting for a transplant.

World Of Broken Hearts/Photographer Suha Dabit

Or, I could tell you about my perspective of what it was like being in that room to document their last moments together as a family of six.

World Of Broken Hearts/Photographer Suha Dabit

But there aren’t any words to describe the pain and love I witnessed.

CHD claims so many lives, too many lives. It tears families apart and forces siblings to grow up way too fast. It changes you in every aspect of your life, and to the very core of our heart and soul.

It is hard, difficult and unfair.

This. This is the reality for many CHD families every day.

World Of Broken Hearts/Photographer Suha Dabit

Kristi and Justin, thank you for allowing me to share with the world such personal and intimate moments.

Fly high baby girl. You fought so hard and touched so many lives.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by photographer Suha Dabit, of White House, Tennessee. It originally appeared on her Facebook page. Submit your story here

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