Spring 2013 - Issue 4 - Featured Article
Shannon Hori and her "Unqiue" FamilyWritten by: Lydia Gonzalez
Shannon Hori is the very well known and loved co-anchor of the CBS news affiliate in Miami, Florida. Shannon comes into our living rooms and recounts hundreds of stories. However, her most important position is that of being a mother and wife. Recently, Shannon took time out of her busy schedule to recount her own story of courage and hope to Unique Me Magazine. Shannon’s son Colt was born with a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) that needed to be corrected right after birth. Her story is similar to those of thousands of other familes who have been affected by CHDs.
Please tell us a little about your
son and what kind of CHD he had.
Also – were you aware that he had
the CHD before birth?
Colt had open heart surgery on Christmas Eve of 2008. The 5 hour surgery was a success. He was still recovering in the hospital in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit when on January 12, during a routine procedure, he went into cardiac arrest. I am so grateful that I was in the room with him during the procedure because I would hate to think of Colt going through something so scary alone. Fortunately his surgeon was close and within five minutes he had ice on Colt’s head and had reopened his chest again. Dr. Marco Ricci had to manually pump Colt’s heart to get it going again.
As a result of the cardiac arrest Colt still has some challenges. But he faces them head-on. He has mild/moderate hearing loss and wears bilateral hearing aids. He was also born with a cleft palate that has since been repaired, and is in speech, physical, and occupational therapies.
Were any post delivery CHD screening options offered to you?
We weren’t offered any CHD Screenings because it was very obvious to all after the birth of the boys that something was wrong with Colt; and he was diagnosed in less than 24 hours with TAPVR. We delivered the boys at Jackson Memorial Hospital and Colt had the surgery on campus at Holtz Children’s Hospital. I was extremely grateful that Colt didn’t have to be transported to another facility in such a fragile state. That would have made a stressful situation even more so.
As a prominent figure is the
S. Florida community tell us
about your involvement in
organizations that help spread
awareness of CHDs.
Before we had our boys, I didn’t
I try to accept most opportunities to speak publicly about Colt and congenital heart defects. I believe it’s by educating others and raising awareness that funds will be raised to increase our knowledge about congenital heart defects and reduce the number of children who have to face the defect because, I can tell you, it greatly impacts the entire family.
My husband and I are huge supporters of our local children’s hospitals, both Holtz Children’s Hospital and Miami Children’s Hospital. I just co-chaired the 2nd annual women’s luncheon called “Wine, Women & Shoes” that raised nearly Five hundred thousand dolars for Miami Children’s Hospital. I have met some incredible people too on this journey. An amazing woman named Deena Hoagland is the owner of Island Dolphin Care (www.islanddolphincare.org), which she started after her own son Joe was born with a congenital heart defect. Island Dolphin Care, in Key Largo, offers children with special needs and their families a chance to swim with dolphins. I also support the Caribbean Heart Menders which was started by Barbara Davis-Sears, one of Colt’s nurses in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Their volunteers travel to Caribbean countries and perform life-saving surgeries for children in need. Another great organization is Angel’s Pediatric Heart House. Founder Sonia Perez tirelessly works to provide “heart families” with both financial and emotional support. As a member of the board of the Miami Children’s Museum (www.miamichildrensmuseum.org), I am proud to get the word out about their Sensory Saturday. One Saturday a month, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. the museum is turned into an environment designed specifically for children with special needs and their families; and at a reduced rate.
Do you have any advice for
parents who find themselves in
My biggest piece of advice is don’t lose faith. There are days when as a parent you will feel more challenged. As all parents are. But that’s when you need to get dressed, slap on bright lipstick, and face that obstacle head on. I also am so grateful for all the therapists that Colt has had over the years. As soon as he got out of the hospital we put him in every possible therapy. Early Steps is a great Florida program that helps make that financially possible; because it can be so financially overwhelming. Parents should really take advantage of that. (www.cms-kids.com)
Before my boys were born my biggest fault was my impatience. I wanted things to happen yesterday. I’ve learned the greatest rewards come from waiting for them. What a happy day it was when our son Colt told me, loud and clear, “I love you.” Kendall and I knew the moment our boys were born that life would never be the same, we didn’t anticipate how perfect it would really be.