Sara’s big home­com­ing

Sara Smith and fam­ily had been away since April

Northern Pen - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS

MAIN BROOK, NL — A lit­tle girl with “a heart of gold” and her par­ents re­ceived an un­for­get­table wel­come home from the com­mu­nity of Main Brook.

On Sun­day af­ter­noon, un­der a bright, sunny sum­mer sky to match the happy oc­ca­sion, well over 50 peo­ple from the town came out along the high­way to greet three-year-old Sara Smith and her par­ents as they made their highly an­tic­i­pated re­turn home.

The fam­ily had been stay­ing at the Toronto Hos­pi­tal for Sick Chil­dren since April, as Sara was be­ing treated for a heart con­di­tion.

Her stay was ex­tended due to com­pli­ca­tions aris­ing from an April 25 op­er­a­tion.

Af­ter 145 days away, their re­turn was a mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion that the town came to­gether for.

Af­ter an emo­tional re­cep­tion, the group ac­com­pa­nied Sara and her par­ents for a pa­rade on the last 30 kilo­me­tres back to Main Brook, with the RCMP and later the Main Brook Fire Depart­ment es­cort­ing.

There, the fam­ily came upon houses and lawns dec­o­rated with signs and bal­loons, wel­com­ing the lit­tle girl with a “heart of gold” home once again.

It was all well suited for such a mo­men­tous home­com­ing.

Danielle Gal­gay-Smith, Sara’s mother, said she was “to­tally over­whelmed” by the wel­come home.

In fact, the en­tire thing was a com­plete sur­prise to her.

She had no idea any of this was planned while Sara’s fa­ther, Dave Smith, was privy to it and kept the event a se­cret to sur­prise his wife and daugh­ter.

How­ever, he says he had no idea it would be as big a deal as it was.

Sara has a rare con­gen­i­tal heart de­fect that means she ef­fec­tively has half a heart.

She has al­ready un­der­gone three open-heart surg­eries and has a pace­maker to reg­u­late her heart rhythms.

Af­ter an April 25 op­er­a­tion in Toronto, she had been hav­ing drainage is­sues, her mother says.

The fam­ily had been pre­pared to go Philadel­phia to treat Sara’s drainage is­sue.

But just a day be­fore they had planned to fly out, a mir­a­cle hap­pened.

There was a good re­port. The drain­ing stopped.

“They were sur­prised and amazed at how she stopped drain­ing so quickly, be­cause it doesn’t usu­ally hap­pen,” said Danielle. “They were pretty much puz­zled by her. Def­i­nitely a mir­a­cle.”

STEPHEN ROBERTS/THE NORTH­ERN PEN PHOTO

Danielle Gal­gay-Smith, Dave Smith, and three-year-old daugh­ter Sara Smith re­turned home to a huge crowd and a pa­rade on Sept. 10.

STEPHEN ROBERTS/THE NORTH­ERN PEN PHOTO

Back at the town hall, Sara Smith has a bit of fun with the bal­loons

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