Christmas socks bring hope for former Scottsdale ‘Miracle Baby’

Becca Atherton 2Christmas socks have a special meaning for one Scottsdale young woman who was born with severe heart and lung defects and now must have a heart-lung transplant to survive.

Defying the odds since birth, 22-year-old Scottsdale resident Becca Atherton now faces a heart-lung transplant at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as the next step in her journey.

Becca Atherton.

Becca Atherton.

When Becca was born, doctors estimated her chance of survival at 13 percent. Becca was adopted when she was a month old by Chris and Bob Atherton, an Arizona couple who built their family of 14 children through adoption. Among Becca’s brothers and sisters are other young adults who have had their own journeys with congenital heart defects and chronic illness.

When Becca was 13 months old she was not expected to survive, following complications from her second open heart surgery. One of her nurses placed upon her tiny feet a pair of Christmas socks, telling Becca’s parents that the socks were to give Becca something to look forward to.

Since then, Becca has had four open heart surgeries to address her severe congenital heart defects, has undergone 25 heart catheterizations and survived a MRSA infection that almost took her life.

And throughout each of those experiences, Christmas socks have been a symbol of hope for Becca, her family, and an ever-growing circle of friends and supporters who have heard her story.

A group of volunteers is mounting a campaign called “Believe With Becca” to invite people to join in Becca’s message of hope, to cheer her on as she continues her valiant journey, and to help her and her family prepare for her heart-lung transplant.

One way people can help is to join the “Believe with Becca” campaign and donate to Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) in honor of Becca. While the Athertons’s insurance will cover much of the medical costs of Becca’s heart-lung transplant, additional support is needed for the cost of co-payments, living in Pittsburgh, transportation, and transplant associated expenses.

A fully tax-deductible donation to COTA for Becca can be made at www.COTAforBeccaA.com.

People can further Becca this young woman by joining the “Believe with Becca” facebook page, by following Becca’s writing on her blog (lifeasachronicallyillteen.blogspot.com), and by wearing Christmas socks in honor of her or others who need hope during this holiday season.

Having lived with chronic and terminal illness her entire life, Becca is a passionate advocate for acceptance of people and, when health permits, serves as a public speaker to promote anti-bullying messages in public schools.

A determined and strong-spirited young woman, Becca attributes her own survival not only to outstanding medical care but also to the love and support of her remarkable family. Her strength of character and will to live inspire all those who have met her and even many who have not.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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