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Local 3-year-old in need of lifesaving heart surgery


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IDAHO FALLS — By looking at 3-year-old Delainee “Lainee” Pond playing and laughing with her family, one wouldn’t suspect she has life-threatening heart deformities.

Because of her complications she’s is in need of a vital heart surgery.

“I just want her to be well and healthy and be able to do all the things other kids can do, and go swimming and have fun, and have the chance to be a little girl,” says Megan Denison, Lainee’s grandmother.

Before Lainee, of Idaho Falls, was born, doctors noticed her heart was an unusual shape.

“When she was 20 weeks in my belly we went in for the normal gender scan, the anatomy scan, and when they were doing that they did notice that the heart looked abnormal. Basically, one side looked bigger than the other,” says Delainee’s mom, Whitney Pond.

Lainee was born with five serious heart problems. She underwent her first heart surgery at 5 days old.

In December her family learned that one particular issue with Lainee’s mitral valve has become severely worse. The mitral valve’s main function is to pull blood out of the heart, but the blood was being pushed back in instead.

“Instead of having two muscles like a normal mitral valve, (she) only has one,” Pond says.“(This malfunction) is causing pressure on other chambers. Then there’s actually fluid that’s starting to build up around her lungs, which can cause infection and other things in her lungs, and more problems.”

“I really am hoping that once she get this valve replacement done that she will be able to continue her life like a normal child …”

Lainee Pond. | Courtesy photos

Congenital heart defects as the most common type of birth defects, according to the Children’s Heart Foundation.

“One in 100 kids on average are born with a heart defect,” Pond says.

Since Lainee’s heart is growing worse she is seeking the help of her first heart surgeon, Dr. Aditya (A.K.) Kaza. She’s set for a heart procedure in August at the Boston Children’s Hospital, another stepping stone in Lainee’s journey to a healthier heart.

“I really am hoping that once she get this valve replacement done that she will be able to continue her life like a normal child with activities such as gymnastics or dancing or sports. I really want her to have a normal life. Without this (surgery) she just can’t,” Pond says.

The Pond family isn’t sure when they will return from Boston. It’s all dependent upon the outcome of Lainee’s procedure.

“She is amazing. She’s my hero.”


Pond says she’s grateful for all of the help she’s received from doctors and the community. She says Lainee’s trial is hard on her family, but she has hope for Lainee’s future.

“She is amazing. She’s my hero. I don’t know how she does it. It doesn’t set her back one bit. With all the tests she’s had done the sedated echoes the heart caths and all the testing … she bounces right back,” Pond says.

To help fund expenses for the August surgery go to Lainee’s GoFundMe page.