School Closings And Delays

Healthwatch 16: Child with Heart Defects Ready for Heart Walk

The American Heart Association Heart Walk is coming up later this month in Lackawanna County, and a family from Luzerne County will be there with a whole team -- Team Zach Attack.

Zach Milewski is a little boy who has gone through quite a bit in his almost three years.

Zach showed off his alphabet skills with the help of big sister Maura. Having this family was always the dream of Sarah and Steven Milewski of West Wyoming.

Then came the scary news during her scan, 35 weeks pregnant with Zach.

"When I found out, I never could have imagined anything was wrong. He was always moving inside of me, his pictures looked perfect on the sonogram," Sarah Milewski recalled.

The baby's heart was not perfect and suddenly the Milewskis weren't just preparing for a birth; they were preparing for an emergency.

"I didn't know what to think, if he would cry, if he would be blue, if they'd have to rush him out. So many emotions."

Zach had three different congenital heart defects, according to pediatric cardiologist Dr. Karen J. Lurito.

The majority are nothing to worry about. But Zach's case was.

"He has one of the forms of congenital heart defect that's considered critical. Infants can deteriorate minutes to hours after birth," Dr. Lurity explained.

Zach had his first open-heart surgery at just 19 days old, and a second surgery at eight months.

He is considered repaired but will need surgery again in the future, once he and his heart grow, not to mention monitoring every few months.

Now, his family is hoping others will join them as Zach takes on the American Heart Association's Heart Walk later this month.

"With new technology and research, we want to support that, of course, and try to prevent this from occurring, but also to reach out to other parents going through the same thing," said Zach's dad Steven Milewski.

Dr. Lurito will be part of that team.

"I have grown very close to Zach and his family. I look forward to their visits, and he's so charming. I was his valentine last year," Dr. Lurito said.

If you're interested in joining or donating to Team Zach Attack, you can find that information here.

Get more info here about the 2018 Northeast PA Heart Walk, April 28 at PNC Field in Lackawanna County.