A Denver couple have spoken of their joy at having their baby daughter home in time for Thanksgiving, after waiting six months for her to receive a heart transplant.


Little Juniper Gelrod was born with a disease that weakens the two lower chambers of the heart, and has spent the past number of months in Children’s Hospital Colorado, waiting for a life-saving operation.


Mum Joni Schrantz says that she and Juniper’s father thought that their daughter was perfectly healthy when she was born in February: “She was eating like a normal baby, everything was normal.”


However, at Juniper’s two-week check-up, doctors discovered that her heart was failing, with one saying that she was ‘close to death’.


Juniper stayed in hospital for the next six months, waiting for a heart transplant that would save her life.


Finally, in late September, Juniper’s parents received word of a donor, and Juniper received the transplant.



Juniper was released from hospital shortly after, with her delighted parents going on to share their story with the media this week.


Expressing her joy that they will be able to spend the festive season with their beloved daughter, mum Joni said: “It’s a gift…her whole life is a gift. She isn’t supposed to be here.”


It will be a very happy Thanksgiving and Christmas in that household this year.