At just 5-months-old, Luke Pilkinton has survived what most would hope never to experience in a lifetime. He was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome—a rare and deadly congenital defect that affects 960 babies born in the U.S. every year.
Pilkinton, born in Nashville, Tennessee, underwent his first of multiple necessary surgeries when he was a week old, which lasted 12 hours. He likely will undergo a third surgery when he is 3 years old.
Luke’s parents, Linda and Clint Pilkinton, discovered the defect at 16 weeks into the pregnancy. “It was torture,” Linda Pilkinton said of her pregnancy to People magazine. “I couldn’t function. I couldn’t think right. You feel numb. You feel terrified.”
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