Devon Renae Jenson was born in June 2000. She was the 2nd child for my brother and his wife. I was a very doting auntie to their first daughter, Drew and was so excited for Devon to arrive. My love and devotion to these girls knows no bounds.
When Devon was about one day old, she went into distress and it was discovered that she was born with a rare and complex heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). In the simplest terms, the left side of Devon's heart was extremely underdeveloped. Both sides of our hearts are necessary for pumping blood and moving oxygen through the body so something had to be done in order for her to survive. Devon underwent a number of surgeries during her life to switch the plumbing around in her heart so that the right side could do all of the work. The hope was that she would get older and stronger and undergo a heart transplant at some point.
We spent the next 3 years soaking up all the time we had with this feisty, beautiful, amazing child. I loved her as if she were my own and was lucky enough to be trusted to care for her often. In September 2003, she underwent a surgery that we hoped would be the last for awhile. She came through the surgery well but then complications arose. Everything that we could do to save her was done but to our utter dismay, she passed away on November 13, 2003.
I can never claim to feel what my brother and his wife feel but Devon's loss tore me apart and the pain is still immense. She is in my thoughts every day and the hole created by her loss won't ever be filled. As someone once poignantly said to me, "There will always be a Devon-sized hole in your heart." A loss such as this affects people in different ways but I knew I had to honor her through the way I lived my life. I can use that deep and abiding love I have for her and put it towards something bigger than myself. All of Devon's hospitalizations and treatments were at Children's Hospital of Minnesota. The doctors and nurses at that facility are some of the bravest people I have ever met. They were just as devastated by the loss of Devon as we were.
I am proud to say that I am donating 10% of my profits from jewelry sales to the Heart Program at Children's Hospitals of Minnesota in memory of my angel Devon. May the good people at Children's Hospital continue to learn and advance their capabilities so that one day in the future, all HLHS kids have a fighting chance.
Devon's legacy lives on...