These are the heartbreaking photographs of a two-year-old girl tragically losing her battle with congenital heart defect.
One in 100 babies in the US are born with the illness, which is showing no sign of being contained with the number of sufferers increasing.
Adalynn Grace was one of those born with the defect, and she passed away while waiting for a heart transplant at a children’s hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.
Her devastated parents, Justin and Kristi, asked photographer Suha Dabit to document their child’s last moments, and did so with a series of gut-wrenching pictures.
The mom and dad agreed to make the photographs public in an attempt to raise awareness and funding to make agonizing stories like Adalynn’s a thing of the past.
Tragic Adalynn Grace, who died a the children’s hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, as she waited for her heart transplant
Her devastated parents, Justin and Kristi (pictured), asked photographer Suha Dabit to document their child’s last moments, and did so with a series of gut-wrenching pictures. Here, Adalynn is surrounded by her supportive family
Adalynn’s baby brother Kolton Blake lies next to her in the hospital bed in Nashville, Tennessee
Adalynn was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), which is a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart.
As the baby develops during pregnancy, the left side of the heart does not form correctly.
HLHS is one type of congenital heart defect.
The photographer, who is also a founder of Facebook page World of Broken Hearts, was present to take photos of Adalynn’s final moments.
While her heart failed and she waited for a replacement, she passed away in her parents’ arms.
Her mother Kristi posted a poignant message on Facebook when the family held a memorial for the youngster on February 1 during which balloons were released into the air.
Medical staff care for the youngster, who was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), which is a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart
While Adalynn’s heart failed and she waited for a replacement, she passed away in her parents’ arms
‘Yesterday, I said goodbye to my best friend,’ she wrote, referring to her daughter as Addy.
‘She had a beautiful service filled with family, friends and flowers from people all over the world.
‘I don’t think I can even put into words how that felt, Or how numb, broken and empty I feel now. It all still feels like a horrible nightmare I won’t ever wake up from.
‘The only thing getting me through the day is knowing that she isn’t in anymore pain or scared any more. But I miss her. I miss her voice and her ability to make me smile every time I looked at her.
‘I want to thank everyone for the support and love we’ve received during this time.
Adalynn’s brother says goodbye to his sister
‘Addy was so loved by everyone. Along with family and friends, Addy had people show up from our Sew Sassy and Bee and Binx family, Addy would have loved that because she loves her ruffles and bows.
‘We also had three very special nurses come from TN yesterday.
‘These ladies took the best care of my angel and loved her like their own for months and I can’t ever thank them enough for that.
‘They are family to me and Addy loved them all so much.’
The family have set up a fundraising page in Adalynn’s honor with the hashtag Addy Strong, and more than $10,000 has been raised to fund congenital heart disease research.
Photographer Suha Dabit wrote: ‘There aren’t any words to describe the pain and love I witnessed.
‘CHD claims so many lives, too many lives. It tears families apart and forces siblings to grow up way too fast. It changes you in every aspect of your life, and to the very core of our heart and soul.It is hard, difficult and unfair.
‘This is the reality for many CHD families every day.
‘Kristi and Justin, thank you for allowing me to share with the world such personal and intimate moments.
‘Fly high baby girl. You fought so hard and touched so many lives.’
Congenital heart defects: The child killer that affects one in 100 babies in the US
Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are the most common types of birth defects, and babies born with these conditions are living longer and healthier lives.
CHDs affect nearly 1 percent of – or about 40,000 – births per year in the United States and are a leading cause of birth defect-associated infant illness and death.
Infant deaths due to CHDs often occur when the baby is less than 28 days old (sometimes called the neonatal period).
In a study of neonatal deaths, 4.2 percent of all neonatal deaths were due to a CHD.
From 1999 to 2006, there were 41,494 deaths related to CHDs in the United States.