CHEK Upside: Birthday takes on profound meaning for four-time heart surgery survivor

CHEK Upside: Birthday takes on profound meaning for four-time heart surgery survivor
WatchDespite keeping strict physical distance rules due to her compromised immune system, Mikayla Edmunds was thrown a birthday party she won't soon forget.

As Mikayla Edmunds eagerly awaits her drive-by birthday cavalry, she’s surrounded by her family and pictures of her favorite creatures: pandas and unicorns.

“If you combine the unicorn and a panda together, you get a panda corn,” said an exuberant Mikayla, who turned 10-years-old on May 28.

Mikayla smiles with an appreciation for life that few can relate to. Before she was even born, Mikayla was diagnosed with a rare heart disorder that required life-saving open-heart surgery at just seven days old.

“Because I was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, I’m at the higher risk,” she said, well aware of her condition.

To date, Mikayla’s undergone four open-heart surgeries and lives with a number of other health issues, including club feet and scoliosis.

Yet, according to her mother, she’s always looked on the bright side.

“We always had this saying back when she was really little that life gives you lemons and it’s whether you choose to make lemonade, lemon meringue pie or throw them away,” said Jocelyn Edmunds.

Jocelyn says her daughter inspires her every day.

“She’s changed my life. She’s shown me that no matter what happens there’s always a positive, always something you can do to make it better to make it sparkle to make it shine,” Jocelyn said.

Even during this global pandemic, Mikayla, who’s immunocompromised, finds the lockdown’s silver lining.

“I get to be with my family more often and two, even if I can’t see my friends in person I can still call them on kids messenger,” said Mikayla.

As Mikayla celebrated her tenth birthday from her driveway, watching cars pass by along Metchosin Road, many decked out with birthday signage, she felt overwhelmed by the community response.

“I was just like wow. I think I got about ten thousand honks,” said Mikayla.

In what seemed like a never-ending car parade, friends, family, and even total strangers honked their horns, giving an odds-defying, brave 10-year-old girl a birthday she’ll never forget.

Her mother was nearly brought to tears.

“Life is just precious and she’s just a prime example of that, you never know what’s gonna happen, you never know what’s gonna be thrown at you and she’s an awesome kid and we’re pretty lucky,” Jocelyn said.

Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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