News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

December 9, 2012

Hundreds show big heart for little girl

Fundraiser fish fry raises money for transplant

TERRE HAUTE — Hundreds of supporters shared fish and fellowship on behalf of a little girl’s heart.

The National Guard Armory on Maple Avenue was buzzing from the start Saturday evening as a charity fish fry was hosted on behalf of 8-year-old Katelyn Newell, who remains on a list awaiting a heart transplant.

Her mother, Robin Newell, said her daughter has been able to keep up with school work at Deming Elementary as the family deals with a condition causing her heart to beat too slowly. Equipped with a pacemaker in April, ultimately she’ll require an organ transplant. Born Dec. 6, 2004, Katelyn was diagnosed with complex congenital heart disease as she’s missing a heart valve. Her first surgery came at the age of 9 days in Riley’s Children Hospital, with two more since then.

“We’re still on the waiting list,” Robin said inside the armory, amid friends, family and a charity auction. The family has been on the waiting list for an organ since Aug. 30. “There’s no idea of when she’ll get one. It’s whenever one comes available in her size, weight and blood type.”

About 300 people attended the fundraiser, with proceeds dedicated to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association on her behalf. According to her profile on the organization’s website, www.cotaforkatelynn.com, the cost of a transplant can often exceed $500,000. The Children’s Organ Transplant Association is a national charity dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-related expenses.

Katelyn’s father, Scott Moody, said he’s grateful for the community outreach.

“I’m very happy that we have this support coming out,” he said.

In addition to the sale of food, friends and family had an assortment of gifts lined up for silent auction. Anonymous donors also contributed cash.

Katelyn’s aunt, Hayley Newell, said the response was overwhelming.

“I’m just surprised how much money is raised,” she said.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.

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