Fund-raiser set for sick baby

Posted: Thursday, June 22, 2000

A fund-raising buffet has been scheduled to raise travel funds for a local child who needs heart surgery.

Catherine L. Johnson, 20 months, was diagnosed with a low heart rate even before birth, said her father, James Johnson.

``The nurse at Bartlett noticed the heart rate, and my wife, Connie, had an emergency C-section,'' Johnson said. ``But you would not know of any health problems looking at her.''

Catherine is ``walking, talking and being a tough little girl,'' Johnson said. Her older sister, Megan, 3 , was diagnosed with a heart murmur before birth, but the hole in her heart that causes the murmur is slowly closing and her condition is improving, he said.

Catherine's problem is more serious than Megan's. ``The left chambers of her heart are misfiring,'' Johnson explained. ``The upper chamber beats twice while the lower chamber beats once, giving her too slow of a heart beat.''

If her condition is not corrected by surgery, her heart would slowly enlarge. Johnson's brother died of an enlarged heart two years ago, and he wants to avoid that fate for his daughter.

Catherine is scheduled for surgery in Seattle on June 29. The buffet is to raise money for travel and room and board for the family while she is there.

It will be from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Tlingit and Haida Community Center, 3235 Hospital Drive. Tickets for adults are $10. The event will feature door prizes, as well as performances by the Yun Shuka Dancers.

For more information, call Sue Ann Lindoff, Catherine's grandmother, at 463-4839.

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