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Shirley boy awaits new heart

An 11-year-old Shirley boy is at Arkansas Childrens Hospital awaiting a new heart.

Family friends share Tristan Hamilton’s story.

Tristan was born in 2001 with a rare heart defect called TAPVR (Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venus Return).

He had surgery at 2 weeks old to try to repair his heart. He had a second surgery when he was 18 months old.

Neither surgery was successful and Tristan was put on a heart transplant list.

On Sept. 8, 2003, he received a new heart. Tristan spent the next three months in the hospital and was able to go home the day before his second birthday.

He did well with his transplanted heart until last year. Tristan was in the hospital for GI complications when tests revealed that the right side of his heart was showing signs of failure. Doctors inserted a two-lead Pacemaker to help stabilize his heart rhythm and he followed up with monthly visits to Childrens Hospital. The issues were not all resolved and on May 22 he was admitted to the hospital.

On May 31, Tristan went into cardiac arrest. Doctors put him on a heart/lung bypass machine.

On June 3, tests revealed that both sides of Tristan’s heart were now in failure. Tristan was immediately put on a transplant waiting list, and was fitted with an artificial heart to help him survive while he waits.

Tristan’s mother, Angela Hillenburg, has had to quit her job to stay with Tristan, and the family is in need of financial help.

Friends of the family are planning some events to help Tristan’s family. All proceeds from the fundraisers go directly to the family to help with bills, gas and food during Tristan’s extended hospital stay, organizers say.

An account under Tristan Hamilton’s name has been set up at First Service Bank.

There also will be a fundraiser from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. June 22 outside Backyard Antiques in downtown Clinton. Hot dogs, drinks, homemade desserts and chances to win prizes donated by local businesses will be sold. For more information on the fundraiser, call April Keeling at 253-4984.

A booth also will be set up at Archey Fest June 28-29 to sell raffle tickets, and Team Tristan T-shirts are on sale. For more information on the T-shirts call Missy Davis at (501) 733-0879 or Alicia Blair at 253-1545.

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