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‘I had been praying for so long’: 4-year-old dies one day after heart transplant

By Trae Harris and Hannah Mose

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    SAGINAW, Michigan (WNEM) — A 4-year-old’s long hard-fought journey to receive a heart transplant ended in tragedy the day after his surgery.

“It’s like a hole and I don’t know if it’ll ever be filled,” said Jasmine Jimenez.

Jimenez said her 4-year-old son Karter was a sweet and happy kid who loved movies and music.

“‘Princess and the Frog,’ Mama Odie, ‘Dig a Little Deeper.’ As soon as he’d hear the little drums, I mean you would get the biggest smile from him,” Jimenez said.

Karter was born a micro preemie and started his life with an uphill battle: He needed a new heart. That never took away Jimenez’s faith and hope that one day a heart transplant would come.

“The words cannot…there’s no words to describe having a possibility, having hope, my son thriving. I had been praying for so long,” Jimenez said.

Initially, Karter was denied being placed on a transplant list back in August due to all of his other severe illnesses, but Jimenez and her family kept their perseverance and faith.

A month later, Karter was put at the top of a transplant list.

“He had said the words that I had been looking for and just waiting to hear: ‘Karter has a match.’ And I didn’t…I thought I was dreaming,” Jimenez said.

Several weeks ago, in late November, Karter celebrated his fourth birthday in his hospital room with family and hospital staff.

Around Christmas, Karter successfully received a donor heart.

However, the excitement did not last long.

One day after the surgery, Karter started having serious complications from the procedure.

“I just told him, I said, ‘Mama’s here. I’m always here.’ But that was the last time I actually seen my son being my son,” Jimenez said.

Karter did not make it.

Jimenez is still struggling with the hardest decision she’s ever had to make: taking her child off of life support and ending his suffering.

“Four years. Four years I got to be blessed with him,” Jimenez said. “Thankful, because he was sent to me for a reason.”

Due to Karter’s multiple diagnosed illnesses, he never qualified for life insurance.

Jimenez and her family have created a GoFundMe account to help with his funeral costs moving forward. Click here if you would like to donate.

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