Heart transplant in 5.5 lb infant, courtesy of Anatomy Box anatomybox.com

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Willow Short was born with a congenital heart defect, detected while she was still in the womb [1].  Doctors warned her mother, Megan, the baby could be stillborn.  But Willow was born alive.  And, at just six days of age, the little trooper survived a heart transplant.

A newborn’s heart is roughly the size of a walnut.  It can fit into a spoon.  The fact a child’s chest cavity is much smaller than an adult’s makes surgery more difficult.  The time a transplant on a child takes will vary.  The procedure may be as short as four hours or as long as sixteen.

Megan Short was extremely grateful to the donor’s family.  She was quoted by the The Reading Eagle as saying, “Someone else’s child died so mine could live.  I know they’re in so much pain.  I’m so thankful.”

But Willow needed fifteen different medications, around the clock, after being discharged.  Megan Short told the New York Times that she developed PTSD from the anxiety. 

On Philly at Heart  in a post titled “Learning to Heal:  My Experience with PTSD” https://phillyatheart.com/2016/04/13/learning-to-heal-my-experience-with-ptsd/ Megan wrote:

“There are very few moments when you can clearly see your life as separated into the before and after.  Having a child born with a severe congenital heart defect has been the most significant shift of my life.  Like many moms, I have always put my family’s needs ahead of my own and forgotten to make time to take care of myself.  Having a child with a life-threatening illness intensified that.  I was so focused on learning everything I could to keep my child alive and to minimize the impact on my other children that I didn’t see the full impact that it had on me.”

This past week – two years after the transplant – Willow, her 5 y.o. brother, her 8 y.o. sister, and their mother were found murdered.  The children’s father, Mark Short, also, killed the family dog before shooting himself.

Megan Short was planning to leave the marriage over what were described as domestic issues.  She had briefly left Mark for another woman, but returned to try and salvage the marriage.

Little Willow received a heart transplant.  Tragically, that was not enough to save her life.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward” (Ps. 127: 3).

[1]  Bullfax, “Willow Short, 2, Survived Heart Transplant Six Days After She Was Born But Not Her Troubled Home” (originally published in National Post), 8/8/16, http://www.bullfax.com/?q=node-willow-short-2-survived-heart-transplant-six-days-after.



Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Physical Abuse, Religion, Violence Against Women

17 responses to “Heartbreak

  1. This is heartbreaking.. the only solace is knowing the children are in the arms of our Lord.. and Willow has met her heart donor.. Some do not believe children go straight to heaven.. but King David eludes to this belief..

  2. This is truly heartbreaking, Anna. The shock of reading something like this is palpable. Even though violence on this level is not rare or isolated, each new story stops you in your tracks – we can and must never become immune to such tragedies,

    • I am always torn about whether to report stories like this one. While I want to shield readers from further trauma, I believe it is important we bear witness to such tragedies. As you say, painful though they may be to us, we must never become immune.

      • It was clear to me that this was written with a heavy heart. How could it be otherwise? Sometimes I think there should be another “option” other than the “like” button. The irony of placing a like at the bottom of a post like this seems to make a mockery of what has been said. That said, we know behind the like, stands empathy, compassion and utter incomprehension of such evil.

      • You express the dilemma perfectly, Marie. Thank you for your sensitivity. That you managed to retain that sensitivity in the face of all you endured, yourself, is nothing less than a miracle. ❤

  3. Monochrome nightmares

    An absolutely heartbreaking story Anna.

  4. My thoughts are the same as Mariewilliams53. But this is a timely piece for me and our family exactly now, Anna. We have a great granddaughter who has had 2 open heart surgeries within a week that lasted 8 hours on one and almost 10 on the first one. They are in the Texas Children’s hospital for the next 6 months waiting for a 3rd surgery and she just turned 2 months old. After the 3rd surgery hopefully they can return home to Oklahoma before the 4th surgery when she is about 2 years old. The hardships and strains that could develop from such a situation are mind blowing. The grandchildren have 2 older boys. Everyone is helping as much as possible. God knows and is our strong tower in times like these. He created us, so no doubt He can “fix” us. Thanks for your faithful sharing, Anna.

  5. david


    Thank you for being willing to “hang out there” on the limb where few are willing to go with Father’s heart.

    These stories only help to strengthen my desire to allow the communion with Him to transform me more and more into His image… that I may save some.

    I know I will upset some, but the truth is that man, twisted and contorted- needed the love of Christ poured into Him. Everyone does… this is a graphic and honest reminder of just how much the lost need the light of the Church.

    Thank you as always~

    your brother


  6. And again.. thank you for being willing to share what few are willing to bring to light.

    The world needs us to give His love to those so bound and tormented…

    Thank you


    • You have such a kind heart, David. I see God’s own love for victims reflected in you. I do so little. But God, we know, can do all things. May He use each of us to reach those so desperately in need of that love. ❤

  7. You do more than you realize. Speaking at least for me (and I KNOW I am not the only one) The Lord is using you, your feedback, your articles/teachings to teach and train me..

    i think the body needs to express the blessings we are to each other more… it glorifies Him and is part of the joy of true Church life.

    He is so good~

    • You cannot know how much that means to me, David. Thank you for your encouragement, and for being the person you are. “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion” (Eccl. 4: 9-10). And, yes, He is so good.

  8. I hope it’s ok to respond to a couple of individual comments left by Levi Thetford and David Murry. Levi – my thoughts and prayers are with you regarding your little one. May she thrive. David – Your comment about the wonderful work Anna does is fully supported by me. She is so humble and does so much. Thank God for giving us such a strong voice in Anna!

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