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Hope for Natalie

ELC alum’s new daughter awaits heart transplant, seeks help

May 7, 2019
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Chris Zimmerman's daughter, born April 14, 2019, has only the two right chambers of her heart muscle. The condition, called HLHS (hypoplastic left heart syndrome) also includes a leak in her tricuspid valve and an enlarged right ventricle, meaning, according to Natalie's grandmother, Alice Zimmerman, that the right side is not that great, either.

Chris Zimmerman is a 2007 graduate of Estherville Lincoln Central High School Chris and his wife, Emily, spent eight years going to doctors trying to have a child. Last year, Chris and Emily were overjoyed when they found out they were finally going to have a baby.

Doctors performed surgery April 17 to place bands on her tiny pulmonary veins. They had hoped to put in a stint to assist her blood flow, but because of the odd formation of Natalie's heart, the stint could cause more problems than it solves.

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Natalie is currently waiting at the pediatric intensive care unit at University of Iowa's Stead Family Children's Hospital as one of three children awaiting a heart transplant there. One of the other children, Alice said, has been waiting six months.

This journey, which started with an ultrasound diagnosis in early February, has taken a toll on the Zimmermans, emotionally and financially. Chris had to return to work and travels from the couple's Independence, Iowa home to Iowa City every chance he gets. Emily is staying in Iowa City. With one income and expenses for transportation, plus mounting medical costs, the family has launched a GoFundMe fundraiser. There is also an account at Employees Credit Union in Estherville named Hope for Natalie.

"I'm a concerned grandma," Alice Zimmerman said. "We just need some hope."

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The GoFundMe account is here:



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