The Elle Foundation was inspired by, and in loving memory of, Elle Arnold. On May 2, 2008, we received the devastating news that our baby girl would be born with a rare and serious Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) known as Hypoplastic Left Heart (HLH); basically she would be born with half of a heart. We immediately began our journey of educating ourselves on what we could do to give our daughter the best, longest life possible. We found that while we were dealing with a devastating condition, that the medical community had made tremendous strides in the treatment of HLH through a series of operations that would begin when Elle was just days old.
We spent the next months educating ourselves, praying and preparing for the arrival of Baby Elle. On August 26, 2008, at 10:01am, Elisabeth Kate Arnold was born with a beautiful head of black hair and looking like any healthy baby would. She was immediately taken off for observation and preparation for her first surgery which would take place the very next day. Elle did wonderfully through her first surgery and post-op period and the doctors called her progress “amazing”. On September 6, 2008, we took our little girl home where she continued to thrive. She had regular appointments and the doctors remained pleased with her progress.
Unfortunately, Elle passed away very unexpectedly on October 3, 2008. We, along with our family and friends, were shocked and devastated by her passing. Although we only had five short weeks with her, Elle was an extremely special baby who touched many people across the country most of whom never had the opportunity to meet her in person. Losing her was our greatest fear come true. Our second fear became that people would forget about Elle. Since she had touched so many lives we knew we couldn’t let that happen. With the help of our family and friends, we decided to start The Elle Foundation. Not only could we help others affected with Congenital Heart Defects, but we could help Elle continue to touch lives.
Sadly, Elle’s case is far from a rare occurrence. Many babies, children and adults lose their lives, through no fault of their own, due to complications from congenital heart defects. Although CHDs are the most common birth defect and leading cause of death in infants, research is extremely underfunded. Please consider making a donation and sharing this information with your family and friends to help us raise awareness and improve treatment so those affected by CHDs may live longer, healthier lives.
Zack & Krista Arnold
Elle's Daddy & Mommy
Elle with big brother Christian