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Cenla girl fights to live after heart aneurysm, father dies en-route to hospital

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to assist with out-of-network medical costs
Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 4:54 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 18, 2020 at 4:33 PM CST
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NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB) - Charm Kennedy, 5, is an active girl full of life and energy. However, an undetected health problem leaves her fighting for her life.

“She was diagnosed with an aneurysm on the left chamber of her heart,” said Elizabeth Howard Kennedy, Charm’s mother. “The doctors believe that she was living with this her entire life.”

On October 9, Charm was playing at a park in Dallas with her siblings when she went into cardiac arrest. Medical crews took her to Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas and then to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. Charm was unresponsive and went without oxygen for reportedly 50 minutes leading to brain damage. Hours later, Charm’s father, Ronald Kennedy Sr, died leaving Natchitoches on the way to the hospital. He worked for the City of Natchitoches for 28 years and was on-call preparing for Hurricane Delta during the medical emergency.

“My husband did not get out of the city limits before he was found on the side of the road,” she said. “He had a massive heart attack.”

The loss of her husband is the loss of a beautiful relationship. She said her husband and Charm shared a very close bond.

“It really didn’t make sense prior to losing him. We would jokingly say that they couldn’t live without each other. Losing him and knowing he only had four years with his daughter, makes sense. He would always tell me that ‘it wasn’t that she was the favorite, she just needed special attention.’ He was getting all the time he could get in with his daughter prior to him leaving.”

Elizabeth is now trying to be the glue keeping her family of six together, but she revealed that it is tough.

“I get up and try. There is nothing more that I can do but get up and try,” she said. “I have to be strong for Charm because she is in a fight for her life. I realize I have to be strong for our other children as well.”

Charm is also fighting and making more progress than doctors predicted.

“I celebrate every baby step as a big miracle because they wanted me to give up on Charm two months ago,” she said. “For a baby to go 50 minutes without oxygen and then to be able to wake up everyday...she’s my hero and her calling and purpose in life is greater than her sickness.”

Charm receives at least four different types of therapy per day. Doctors are also focusing on treating her brain injury.

“She’s experiencing a lot of what doctors call ‘neurostorming.’ Her body wants to react, but her brain can’t react and let the activities of her body transpire due to the brain damage,” she said.

The road to recovery is long, but Kennedy said she believes in God and the strength of her daughter.

Kennedy said because Charm is receiving care in Dallas, the treatment is out-of-network. A GoFundMe account has been created to help Charm. Click here.

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