Photography by Heather Palmer Photography
Meet Laycee. She is Beauty Revived.
I wanted to introduce one of the sweetest little girls that have ever walked this earth. Laycee is an adorable 10 year old, with a rare heart condition. She was born with hypo-plastic right heart syndrome with pulmonary atresia. Which means, the right side of her heart is too small and her left side of her heart pumps all the blood to her body. So a normal amount of stress on a healthy heart, is a very large stress on a partially functioning heart.
In her first moments of birth, she was kept alive by medical advancements and medicine at Primary Children’s Medical Center. Many doctors and nurses worked carefully on her to provide the best care. Her first of 4 open heart surgeries, in her 10 years old life came at just one week old. Two weeks after surgery she unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest. A nurse performed mouth to mouth on her, and administered CPR for 45 minutes to keep her alive. That nurse later said, in all of her 30 years of nursing, little Laycee was one of the most critical cases she has seen survive. Laycee was then put on a ECMO machine. That pretty much made her body work for her and pushed blood to her extremities. You could hardly see her little body under all the wires and cords attached to her keeping her alive. It’s very common for someone on ECMO, to have brain bleeds and have developmental delays but Laycee has no effects from the procedure.
From her first struggling moments, this little girl exhibited extreme amounts of courage and will power. Against all odds, this little girl was a fighter. Many puzzled doctors looked at her and made similar remarks about her will to live. Today, it is very easy to see when you meet her. She is still that same little fighter she was in the NICU.
Laycee’s spirit is much stronger then her little body. She has more life and will power than anyone I’ve ever met. She has such a love of life and wants to do everything she possibly can but her little heart just won’t let her. Laycee’s condition leaves her short of breath which requires her to receive temporary oxygen supplemented through breathing treatments. She sleeps with oxygen every night and has it ready for her at school, if she gets dizzy. Laycee cannot run for very long and has been recommended that she not participate in most childhood activities. She can’t participate in PE at school and has to take it easy at recess. A minor cold of most people is high fevers off and on for days for Laycee. Sadly Laycee condition makes her a poor candidate for a heart transplant so they are relying on medical science to giver her as healthy of a life as possible.
Despite all of these conditions and limitations, Laycee has continued to defy the odds. There is no one that loves life like Laycee and she is determined to live it! She finds so much joy in little things from when she learned how to tie her shoes to being able to dance. She is always pushing herself as far as she can go, trying to do as much as possible. Her family has had to do their best to let her live her life, to the fullest as possible and not over work her heart. She has been active in so many ways and in so many activities. From 4H horse competitions, to dancing, soccer and mutton busting at the rodeo, Laycee has lived her life more than most children with normal conditions. She may have had to be the goalie in soccer and only participate in dance numbers that couldn’t stress her heart too much but she still loved it and lived it. She does get frustrated that she cant do everything other children her age do because in her mind she can do anything!
Her new passion in life is her horse, named ‘Tough’. She has been practicing weekly to get ready for her county fair, later this year. She was so excited and happy after her first practice that she had a hard time containing herself! She will also talk your ear off about it.
Everyone who knows her, is inspired by her will to live her life the fullest. Laycee brings so much joy to everyone around her. For Laycee, normal is living life and enjoying the moments that take her spirit to a higher level and make her above exceptional.
About the Photographer
My name is Heather Palmer and I am a natural light photographer who specializes in Family and Children photography in the mountains of Northern Utah. I’m a mother to 5 crazy little boys and the wife to my sweetheart. I find so much joy in photography, especially photographing my own family.