By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

0529-LIW-Barry Walk_Blog

When Barry Walk III was 2 months old, he seemed like a happy, healthy baby. Then one morning, he wasn’t interested in eating. He was lethargic and his coloring was off.

Doctors in Erie, Pennsylvania, life-flighted the infant to Pittsburgh, where specialists found that Barry’s heart was leaking blood into his lungs. Every breath was a struggle.

Barry had severe coarctation of the aorta and mitral valve regurgitation. Doctors initially stitched the mitral valve. But six weeks later, Barry had to have a mechanical mitral valve implanted in his heart — a valve surgeons had to replace three times because of clotting problems.

By the time he was 3, Barry had already had five open-heart surgeries.

Now in first grade, Barry “is a little boy through and through,” said Stacy, Barry’s mother. He loves his dogs, toy trucks and wrestling with his dad.

As Barry grows, he’ll need more surgeries to replace his mitral valve.

“I just hope he can live a long, happy, normal life,” said Stacy. “I just want him to experience the world like anybody else could.”

For now, there are two things Barry knows he wants for his future: to be a teacher and to be just like his dad.

Barry is Why. Life is Why.