Fundraiser set for family awaiting daughter's new heart

Kaitlyn Piper is a 15-year-old from Traverse City that is awaiting a heart transplant.

BENZIE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- Kaitlyn Piper is a 15-year-old from Traverse City. When she was just three days old, doctors discovered a heart murmur and had to perform open heart surgery on her newborn body. A decade and a half later, Kaitlyn has had six open heart surgeries.

At this point, another surgery won't be effective. Kaitlyn needs a heart transplant.

A fundraiser has been scheduled for Saturday at Lake Ann United Methodist Church's Community Center to benefit the Piper family. The cost of the transplant is covered, but everything else including lodging, meals and travel is on the Piper family's dime.

"She's very feisty. That's the best word for Kaitlyn," said Kelly Lamie-Fulk, a family friend that organized the fundraiser. "She's a fighter, and she has to be. It's almost like she was born knowing that she needed to fight."

Kaitlyn is one of four daughters in her family. Her sister's have had to give up hobbies and make sacrifices for the family to afford Kaitlyn's continuous treatments.

"She's always had this heart problem her whole life, and it's just been her life," said Kaitlyn's mom, Jennifer Piper. "That's normal now. For her to have a normal heart is going to be strange, but also she's gonna feel so much better. She's gonna have more energy, and things are going to be a lot easier for her."

Kaitlyn currently needs an IV in her arm 24-hours a day 'til her family gets the call that her new heart has arrived at Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor.

The fundraiser, designed as a carnival, is from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and includes an auction. All of the event's proceeds will go directly to the Piper family.

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