Defying the Odds

Audrey Reagan Tanner was just three years old when she caught severe strep throat that permanently damaged her heart. What complicated the process even further was that she is a special needs child born with Down’s Syndrome.

Audrey was adopted by Stephanie Tanner at 4 months old. Stephanie, an advocate for special needs children, was the driving force for why her now 14 year old Audrey is alive and stronger than ever.

No bond is stronger than the bond between a mom and her child. Stephanie comes across as a reserved low key individual. Her kindness should never be misunderstood for weakness. When given the situation where her special needs child was in need of a heart transplant. Stephanie was determined to get her daughter the care she was entitled to.

Day by day, battle by battle Stephanie endured the cynics and fought her way all the way to the state legislature to get her daughter on the list seeking a eligible heart donors. One doctor even commented that based on Audrey having Down’s Syndrome, she was not worthy of a heart transplant. His exact words were “she was a throw away child”. Clearly compassion and human decency were lacking in this doctors medical training.

That comment proved to be the turning point. A local newspaper pick up the story in regards to how a child’s basic human rights had been violated. That in turn prompted people in the community to contact their state senator? Twelve days later a compatible heart became available.

Even after the successful heart transplant, the doctors still felt that her time was limited. They warned of the high probability of heart rejection and that the odds were against a complete recovery primarily based on her Down’s Syndrome diagnosis.

More than 10 years later Audrey is happy healthy teenager. In many respects she is a typical teenager. She listens to Beyonce on her IPod, goes to school, does her chores and enjoys spending time with her family.

Life holds many teachings that cannot be found in a medical journal. Inner strength, love and compassion are the recipe that allowed Audrey to defy the odds.

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