Jalynn's Story

On January 4th 2007, we were blessed with the birth of our little angel, Jalynn Kennedy Velez.  After 19 hours of labor, Jalynn was born 6lbs 5oz and 18in long. It was the proudest and happiest day of my life.  But unfortunately our joy was short lived; the very next morning we found out that little Jalynn’s heart beat was irregular. She would have to be transferred to the specialist at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.  Tests were run and found that Jalynn had some major heart problems.  Jalynn was born with tetrology of fallot with pulmonary atresia and also had multiple collaterals.  As you can imagine, we were very upset but very optimistic. Jalynn’s 1st surgery took place immediately, and her hospital stay was long, we felt like we lived in the hospital. Shortly thereafter her 2nd surgery took place.  Finally, a couple of months after she was born, we were able to take her home. We were at the doctors frequently, but doctors thought she was going to be fine. A few months later, doctors cleared Jalynn to travel back to the mid-west and visit our family for the summer.

When we returned home to Arizona, we visited the doctors. To our dismay, Jalynn had a large amount of pressure in her heart, and the doctors needed to operate for a 3rd time. She was in the hospital for several weeks, and again after her surgery, everyone was optimistic. Jalynn seemed to be fine, she was starting to crawl, and was doing regular baby things.

Several months went by, along with several doctor appointments. All of her doctors thought Jalynn was in the clear, and we dodged a bullet.
Life became easier; doctor’s appointments became less frequent.
Jalynn started growing like a weed; doctors thought she was now a normal healthy baby.

Jamie and I decided to move back to the Mid-West to be closer to our immediate family, and Jalynn and her grandparents could be around each other. In Sept. of 2007 we picked up our home and moved back to the South Bend, IN area. We were very excited along with our family.  We had the opportunity to get Jalynn a little puppy dog Halloween Costume, and she was able to experience trick-or-treating.

Time was flying by, the weather was getting cold, and it even snowed in December.  Christmas was on the way, and we were starting to plan Jalynn’s 1st birthday party. By this time Jalynn was starting to walk, and talk quite a bit. She was doing all sorts of funny cute baby things.

I had been back in AZ for the first couple weeks of December, and came home on the 18th. I thank God that I came back when I did. I was able to spend the last couple days of Jalynn’s life with her. On the morning of December 20th, God took our little angel to heaven. She was such an amazing little child.  It is so hard to put into words the impact she made on peoples’ lives in the short time she was on this earth.

Since Jalynn’s passing, Jamie and I have wanted to do something to honor her and to make sure her memory would live on.  We wanted to help others in similar situations. What we found was The Children’s Heart Foundation. When I spoke with Bill Foley, it changed my life forever.  Jamie and I both love the work that The Children’s Heart Foundation does, and are very happy to be involved with the organization. It gives us a place to be where people know what we have been through and helps us work to make a difference.  The more we help, the more we raise funds for research, will bring us closer to finding cures for heart disease in these little babies, and reassures us that no child will have the struggles our little angel did.

Below is a link to a video of our little angel.


Jalynn’s story was written by her dad.