At 2 years old, Gwen Lewis is waiting for something very important:
A new heart.
Gwen is a patient at Children’s Hospital in Omaha, waiting until a heart becomes available and she can receive a transplant, said her uncle, Jacob Spicer of North Bend.
Thus far, she’s spent about 60 days there.
The little girl lives in Omaha with her parents, Charlene and JT Lewis, and siblings, Morrigan, 4, and Elliott, 1.
Her parents are former North Bend residents.
Spicer said insurance will cover some costs, but there will be many other expenses.
“It’s going to be a long road,” he said.
To help with expenses, the Little Miss Gwen’s Spaghetti Jamboree starts at 5 p.m., Saturday, June 12, at North Bend City Auditorium.
The event, which is open to the public, includes dinner and a dessert for a freewill donation. There will be a raffle for items including tickets to a Garth Brooks concert and a television. Smaller items will be part of a silent auction.
In a Facebook posting, Gwen’s mom said her daughter will need to remain in the hospital until a heart is found for her.
The posting states that Gwen was born with a heart defect, which was successfully repaired via an open heart surgery when she was 18 days old.
Gwen was on a feeding tube for the first year of her life, but the child was developing well and her “heart looked great at every follow-up.”
“She has been a happy, spunky, and feisty 2-year-old and we had no clue she was developing sudden heart failure,” the post states.
Gwen’s parents then noticed a loss of appetite and some unexplained fatigue in their daughter and took her back to her cardiologist for an echocardiogram.
After several tests and medications, medical professionals told Gwen’s family that a heart transplant would be the best route for her.
Spicer said the event is meant to raise awareness and funds.
“It helps with situations like this when the community comes around and helps the family,” he said.
Spicer speaks fondly of his niece.
“She’s always super happy,” he said. “She just loves everybody. She’s a great little kid.”
He and the family are grateful for the community support.
“We’re really thankful for everybody who’s come around and helped out and helped spread the word for our fundraiser and for everything with Gwen,” Spicer said.