April 13, 2021
Ta’mayah Rolle has her passport and visa, and by the end of the month, the infant’s “broken” heart is expected to be repaired at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.
The surgery to repair six-month-old Ta’mayah’s heart defect is expected to take place on April 28. Ta’mayah has to be in Florida for preliminary tests scheduled for April 23.
“I’m kind of terrified to be honest, especially as the days are counting down,” said Ta’mayah’s mother Hermaine Thompson-Rolle. “Months ago, I didn’t feel nothing, but now my baby is going under, I’m terrified, and praying at the same time.”
An important aspect to the surgery was that doctors wanted Ta’Mayah to weigh at least 10 pounds before proceeding.
At her immunization on March 25, the infant tipped the scale at nine pounds and her mom said she has faith her baby would be at or just above weight by surgery date.
Two days after giving birth, Thompson-Rolle learned her daughter has Down syndrome, and a test by pediatric cardiologist Dr. Jerome Lightbourne revealed Ta’mayah needed surgery to repair a hole in her heart – atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD) – a heart defect in which there are holes between the chambers of the right and left sides of the heart, and the valves that control the flow of blood between the chambers may not have formed correctly. In AVSD, blood flows where it normally should not go. The blood may also have a lower than normal amount of oxygen, and extra blood can flow to the lungs. The extra blood being pumped into the lungs forces the heart and lungs to work hard and could lead to congestive heart failure.
Thompson-Rolle, in an earlier interview, told The Nassau Guardian that it was heartbreaking to learn of her daughter’s medical challenges.
“I shed tears because I had six … seven scans, and none [showed] me I was having a baby with Down syndrome. When I found out, I was like I have to deal with this, but I’m still going to love her. I can’t love her any less. I just have to work hard with her.”
After coming to terms with the Down syndrome diagnosis,
Thompson-Rolle then had to deal with doctors telling her that Ta’mayah would need surgery to repair her heart within the first six months of her life – a surgery that was anticipated would run $85,331 – money, the hospitality worker and her husband, Tamaro Rolle, did not have, due to being furloughed.
Thompson-Rolle reached out to the Sir Victor Sassoon Heart Foundation, an organization which assists children who otherwise would be unable to receive cardiac care.
A friend of her husband’s, Tony Pfau from Denver, Colorado, helped set up crowdfunding through the foundation’s American counterparts, which raised $93,218 all told – with $85,000 coming from an anonymous donor.
Thompson-Rolle and baby Ta’mayah will be accompanied by her husband’s brother, Anton Johnson, for emotional support. They are scheduled to leave New Providence on Wednesday, April 21.
Her husband’s brother has elected to travel with them as Tamaro has a job lined up, which Thompson-Rolle said is important, as they have not been employed in over a year.
With the cost of surgery taken care of, the Rolles, who will have to be in Florida at least 10 days post-surgery, won’t have to worry about accommodations, as the hospital will be providing them with housing, according to Thompson-Rolle.
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