Hon­or­ing a friend

Se­nior’s strug­gles with heart prob­lem con­sid­ered an in­spi­ra­tion

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @JamieACIndyNews

At cer­e­mony, Stone grads re­mem­ber stu­dent who died last year

It was a bit­ter­sweet mo­ment Satur­day evening for Michael and She­rian Hart. It was their daugh­ter Hy­deia’s graduation day, there was her diploma, but there was one thing miss­ing: their daugh­ter.

Thomas Stone High School, the school she at­tended un­til her death July 1, 2015, paid trib­ute to Hy­deia, in­clud­ing her photo on the over­head screen of grad­u­ates and in­clud­ing a short speech fol­lowed by a mo­ment of si­lence, led by school board Chair­woman Vir­ginia McGraw, who had been Hy­deia’s prin­ci­pal at J.P. Ryon El­e­men­tary School.

“Hy­deia Hart was a very spe­cial young lady. She was al­ways, and I do mean al­ways, a very happy child and an ex­cel­lent stu­dent,” McGraw said. “She loved life and she lived it to the fullest every sin­gle day.”

Michael Hart said that Hy­deia, the sec­ond of seven chil­dren and his only daugh­ter, was very ill when she was born, and spent sev­eral days in the hos­pi­tal, but seemed to re­cover. How­ever, when she started walk­ing, she con­tin­u­ally suf­fered from short­ness of breath.

Then, at the age of 2, Hy­deia was di­ag­nosed with pul­monary hy­per­ten­sion, a con­di­tion caus­ing con­stric­tion of the cap­il­lar­ies car­ry­ing blood to the right side of the heart. It took a while to get the cor­rect di­ag­no­sis; her father said that at the time, she was the only child di­ag­nosed with the con­di­tion in the state of Mary­land.

Her treat­ment went well for a while; with an in­fu­sion pump and med­i­ca­tion, Hy­deia ex­pe­ri­enced a rel­a­tively trou­ble-free child­hood for five to six years after­ward, her father said.

But from around the age of 8 on­ward, Hy­deia’s con­di­tion wors­ened, and she was hos­pi­tal­ized 16 times in the decade be­fore her death, her father said.

“As her body started to grow, she was hos­pi­tal­ized more and more,” he said. “She was hos­pi­tal­ized any­where from two to three weeks at a time.”

Hy­deia con­tin­ued to go to school as her health per­mit­ted, where she made a last­ing im­pact on her fel­low stu­dents and teach­ers. Ali­cia Young, a Thomas Stone stu­dent who would have grad­u­ated with Hy­deia, said she was glad to call Hy­deia her friend.

“She was a good per­son, no mat­ter what she was go­ing through. She al­ways had a smile on her face, and you could never tell from the out­side what she was go­ing through,” Young said. “She was a re­ally warm-hearted per­son and she was a joy to ev­ery­body.”

Christina McGraw, daugh­ter of the school board chair­woman, was Hy­deia’s teacher at Thomas Stone.

“She was a very, very, very sweet girl. She al­ways had a smile on her face, no mat­ter whether she was in pain, or not in pain. She had the pul­monary hy­per­ten­sion prob­lem with her heart, but that never got her down,” McGraw said. “She was al­ways there to give some­one a hug if they had a bad day.”

“I feel like she is here with us,” she said be­fore graduation.

Hy­deia’s strug­gles with pul­monary hy­per­ten­sion made lo­cal and na­tional news, with a flag and ci­ta­tion from Con­gress­man Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) and a pro­file story in the Wash­ing­ton Post fol­low­ing her death.

Through­out her strug­gles, Hy­deia con­tin­ued to be up­beat and pos­i­tive, and served as an in­spi­ra­tion to oth­ers, Vir­ginia McGraw said.

“Hy­deia re­mained fo­cused, up­beat and de­ter­mined every day of her life. She lived a life rich and ful­fill­ing, and she touched many peo­ple across our state and com­mu­nity with her en­thu­si­asm, kind­ness and charm,” she said.

Hy­deia died last sum­mer, fol­low­ing an­other bout of ill­ness. “She was in Stage 4 of pul­monary hy­per­ten­sion at the time,” Hart said. “They did ev­ery­thing they could, it was just her time.”

Fol­low­ing the graduation, Hy­deia’s par­ents were pre­sented with her diploma, cap and gown.

Hart said his daugh­ter al­ways showed a strength of spirit and main­tained her up­beat at­ti­tude, de­spite what was go­ing on with her.

“I feel like each per­son is sent to this world for a rea­son, and hers was to spread love and joy amongst peo­ple, and she did that, with her at­ti­tude,” he said. “I miss her so much, but I’m so proud of the child that I raised.”

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

School board Chair­woman Vir­ginia McGraw asks for a mo­ment of si­lence in mem­ory of Thomas Stone High School Class of 2016 mem­ber Hy­deia Hart, who died July 1, 2015.

She­rian Hart cleans the grave of her daugh­ter, Hy­deia Hart, at Trin­ity Memo­rial Gar­dens in Wal­dorf.

She­rian and Michael Hart hold their daugh­ter’s diploma, awarded dur­ing graduation cer­e­monies Satur­day. Hy­deia Hart died July 1, 2015.

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