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The Memory Lives On: Spurred by loss, parents take fight to disease

November 4, 2011

In memory of their daughter Gabrielle (lower right), Jeff and Louise Dinsmore, seen here in a family portrait taken during Christmas of 2009, started a camp for children with heart issues.

COVENTRY—The only camp hosted in Rhode Island for children with heart defects began with the life of one little girl.

Gabrielle Dinsmore was born seven weeks premature on April 26, 2007. She weighed only three pounds and 15 ounces when doctors detected a heart murmur. Gabrielle was kept in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Women & Infants Hospital.

When she was only a week or two old, she was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a congenital heart defect that causes an extreme thickening of the heart wall muscle.

The condition makes “it hard for the heart to expand and contract,” Gabrielle’s mother, Louise Dinsmore said.

Gabrielle was just days old when her parents, Louise and Jeff Dinsmore, met who would become her cardiologist, Dr. Lloyd R. Feit. Feit and Dr. Steven Colan of Children’s Hospital in Boston followed Gabrielle’s case.

In May of 2008, Gabrielle had her first open heart surgery. It would then be followed closely by her second open-heart surgery. The doctors would remove what was blocking her aortic valve.

After that, a team of genetic specialists saw Gabrielle. She had severe eating and gastrointestinal issues and had to have a feeding tube put in, her mother said.

Gabrielle had issues with multiple organs, Louise Dinsmore said.

In December of 2008, Gabrielle had her third open heart surgery. She would later develop pulmonary hypertension and Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome, another heart condition.

For more information pick up a copy of the Coventry Courier

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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