I was looking at Zoo Knoxville’s website when I saw my dear friend Jacyln Beeler’s post about the Greater Knoxville Heart Walk. In my all too busy world, I had bought the T-shirt in support of her team, but didn’t participate in the actual walk. It wasn’t until I read and re-read her post, that I was again reminded how devastating heart disease is, although both my parents had debilitating heart disease when they died.
Jaclyn said, “Today we walked in the Greater Knoxville Heart Walk in memory of our sweet Brooks with friends and family.”
I shorten her initial post to tell you about Brooks, her son with Kathrine Beeler. Brooks was born December 19, 2022, with a serious congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. I will not explain the depth of that defect in this article, but he passed away short of reaching 7 weeks old.
The incredible miracles that happened in those 7 weeks were many, and those who know the Beeler family have been blessed by their faith and continuing determination to let Brooks’ life change others’ lives through his story.
One life saved by Brooks is that of his mother, Jaclyn, and this is the rest of her post I will include in her words:
“We started this journey when Brooks got really sick and they did genetic testing to see why his liver was not functioning properly. The genetic testing didn’t answer liver questions, but it showed he had the PKP2 gene mutation. This led doctors to suggest that I also get genetic testing to see if he inherited that mutation from me and he did.
“Once we got the genetic test results, I had an EKG, wore a Holter monitor for 48 hours and had an MRI, all resulting in a Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC) diagnosis.”
Since Jacyln is asymptomatic, the main risk of ARVC is sudden cardiac arrest, so her cardiologist and his colleagues at Vanderbilt believe that an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is the best course of action. She will have this procedure done on September 22.
Jaclyn says, “Brooks continues to change our lives, and quite literally is saving mine. I wish I could have saved his life, but we will never let his story and his memory disappear.”
Brooks, Jaclyn and their story are just two reasons for Greater Knoxville Heart Walk.
All of us have a story and I want to tell yours! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org