Hope Sansbury, little girl who needs a heart transplant, will dress as Tin Man for Halloween

Parents trying to raise funds for transplant costs

CINCINNATI -- Hope Sansbury's mom isn't dressing her as the Tin Man just to honor a book or movie.

The Halloween costume has a lot more significance: Like the "Wizard of Oz" character, Hope needs a heart.

July 25 is the day the Sansburys' lives were forever changed: That's when Hope came into the world.

Like many parents, they'd learned their child would be a girl just a few months before.

"About 10 seconds later, we found out that something was wrong with her heart," John Sansbury said. "So we went from total excitement to alarm and uncertainty."

He and Tess, Hope's mother, learned their girl would be born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. It's a condition in which the part of her heart that should pump oxygen-rich blood to the rest of her body wasn't fully developed.

The Sansburys didn't give up hope. Instead, they gave their daughter that name.

Now three months old, Hope has turned out to be a fighter. Her biggest battle is still ahead: She needs a heart transplant and is considered a status 1A, one of the top priorities.

Hope's parents have gone through a rush of emotions as they wait. Tess had this perspective: Hope's new heart cannot come from a live donor.

"Her life will continue through the gift of another life, and that's a real challenge as new parents to know that's the only way our baby girl will survive," she said.

With the help of the Children's Organ Transplant Association, the Sansburys want to raise enough money to cover all Hope's transplant-related expenses. Tess's coworkers at Givaudan had a fundraiser last weekend that brought in about $20,000.

"It's moving. It really makes you see the good in people and I can't really overstate enough how touched we both are by the support we've received," John said.

And as the holiday season approaches, they'll keep waiting.

"It'll be the perfect Christmas gift or the perfect way to celebrate Thanksgiving, but we'll just be grateful any day that phone rings to tell us that she has a heart," Tess said.

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