Three heart surgeries later, Bargersville girl bounces back

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BARGERSVILLE, Ind. -- Since Mackenna Casebolt was born, hospital wristbands, tubes and machines have been a constant.

Now, the Bargersville girl finally has the energy to skip, run and enjoy a celebration of her seven-year fight with heart defects she’s had since birth.

The seven-year-old was born with six heart defects. So far, she’s had three open heart surgeries and several more procedures.

For years, she and her parents have been in and out of doctor’s offices and hospital rooms looking for a permanent fix to their daughter’s heart defect.

With the procedure she received last week, they’re getting close.

Their message of perseverance is one the American Heart Association wants to share with its many donors at the upcoming Indy Heart Ball.

“It was jaw-dropping to think that they would ask Mackenna to be a feature for that,” said Kris Casebolt, Mackenna’s father.

Mackenna will be in the spotlight next weekend, honored at the Heart Ball as a survivor.

“You know, each surgery that she did, there was an unknown outcome,” Kris said. “Each catherization that they’ve done is an unknown outcome.”

With the latest procedure though, Mackenna is finally experiencing a normal childhood.

“This one, I think we’ve seen the most change,” her mom Tiffany Casebolt said. “We’ve seen her colors change from purple to pink and her energy is much more than we’ve ever seen.”

Mackenna bounces from floor to couch and runs between rooms.

“We have seen a totally different child in the last week or so,” Tiffany said. “She has had so much more energy. It’s more than we’ve ever seen her have in her entire seven years.”

At next weekend’s Heart Ball, donors and advocates will see her boundless energy firsthand. The event’s organizers hope her story will show them what an impact decades of fundraising and research can do.

Mackenna’s story would not have been such a happy one thirty years ago.

“You know, 30 years ago or so, somebody who would’ve been born with the heart defects Mackenna has, they basically would’ve been sent home to die in peace,” Tiffany said. “They didn’t have these life-saving surgeries and medications and stuff to help them.”

Now that Mackenna’s life has been saved, her dad says, she’s back to focusing on making other people happy, comforting her parents, brother and sister.

Even though her heart isn’t perfect, it’s a big one.”

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