OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – “If we see a pond, we just stop and we fish it,” Lilian Baker said.
Lilian is her dad’s little sidekick.
“We always carry two fishing poles in the truck, and if we see a pond or something, we’ll stop and fish. She out-fishes me every times though,” Troy Baker said.
“Yeah, like this big,” Lily said.
She also knows her way around the kitchen.
“I like to bake,” she said.
Lily often outbakes her mom.
“She is so full of life, ” her mom, Camille McCullough, said. “She will not take no for an answer.”
Lily is a typical 13-year-old girl.
“TikTok videos and all,” her mother said.
But what is not typical is something you cannot see. Lilly was born with a heart defect.
“They actually found in the ultrasound that she couldn’t see all of the chambers in her heart, and so she was born with unbalanced AV canal defect with several holes in her heart,” her mother said.
Lily underwent her first surgery when she was just two months old. That procedure opened vessels and patched holes in her heart, and it went well. Surgery number two was at seven months old, and it, too, was successful. Her next operation was when she was four years old, but this time, there were complications.
“She had to get her blood flow rerouted,” Camille said. “They also put in a mechanical valve in then and a pacemaker; and so, now at 13, she needed a bigger valve, so, she got the bigger valve put in, and they redid her pacemaker.”
At the time of this interview, Lily is two weeks and one day out from surgery performed by Dr. Harold Burkhart at the Children’s Hospital.
“I was in the hospital for a week, and then when I got home, I felt a lot better,” Lily said.
Hopefully, this surgery will be her last and will carry her throughout adulthood, but the journey to this point was not always easy for Lily.
“It made me sad because I really wanted to do gymnastics,” Lily said.
It was not easy for her parents, either.
“At first I was a nervous wreck,” Camille said. “I had no idea. I just kept praying that she’d be ok.”
“It was difficult the first few years. I’d catch myself going into her room all the time throughout the night checking on her, worrying,” Troy Baker said.
Some said Lily would never play sports, but she has overcome the odds.
“Sometimes they say she’s a miracle kid, and she really is,” Camille said. “She is a miracle.”
Even before her teen years, she has never taken no for an answer.
“I think she’s unstoppable,” Camille said. “I don’t think that her heart defect gave her courage that she has, but I think it has helped, and I think it has helped make her as strong as she is.”
If you would like to nominate someone for A Heart 4 Kids or to donate, visit CHFKids.com.