Attica, Dryden families help raise funds for congenital defect research

TRI-CITY AREA — The Children’s Heart Foundation hosts a walk in the Metro-Detroit area each September to fund research for congenital heart defects. The organization has chosen to move forward with a virtual event this year, due to the current circumstances. Despite the decision to host a virtual event, local teams are continuing to plan to “walk” in creative ways.

Jacklynn Schalau, a 7-year-old resident of Attica, and the rest of “Team Jacklynn Rose” is preparing for another year walking for the Children’s Heart Foundation, this time virtually.

Heidi Schalau, Jacklynn’s mom, explained why raising money for congenital heart defect (CHD) research is important to her.

Team members who participated in last year’s Children’s Heart Foundation walk in honor of Dryden’s Izabel Randazzo (front) gather for a photo. This year’s walk will be virtual.

“Jacklynn was born with a ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). The PDA was the most troublesome. At 5 weeks old she was in congestive heart failure and admitted back into intensive care at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. That is where she met Dr. Forbes and under his care Jacklynn was able to slowly come off life support and regain health to come home again,” Heidi said.

“Jacklynn was able to grow and avoided open heart corrective surgery. At three years old, Dr. Forbes closed the PDA with a new procedure through catheterization. Jacklynn is monitored by many specialists for other health issues. She is now seven and very opinionated. Jacklynn loves all animals, including snakes.”

“Team Jacklynn Rose” plans to participate in the virtual aspect of the Children’s Heart Foundation walk, and is hopeful that helping to raise funds for research will one day offer less invasive options to treat whatever is thrown Jacklynn’s way in the future.

Izabel Randazzo, a 2-year-old resident of Dryden, and her team, “It Is What It Iz” have all been planning for walk week for awhile.

Izabel was diagnosed with HRHS (hypoplastic right heart syndrome) at 24 hours old. Her dad, Paul Randazzo, explained, “We were told she had an undetected heart condition and we had to transfer her to Children’s Hospital in Detroit immediately.”

Izabel has avoided surgery to date, and has needed to undergo two heart catheterizations. This will be the team’s second year walking for The Children’s Heart Foundation. To raise funds, “Team It Is What It Iz” has been hosting virtual activities such as a “Chicken Plop” and a Pampered Chef party. Izabel will most likely need a valve replacement in the future. The family hopes that the research being done today will help to offer effective ways to treat Izabel’s heart condition, minimizing her need for surgery.

The Children’s Heart Foundation holds events throughout the United States, year round. Many of the events for this year have been canceled, rescheduled, or switched to a virtual platform. Starting on Monday, September 21, the organization will begin virtual activities for this years’ Detroit Walk. All are welcome to join in on virtual family nights, live talks with cardiologists, and much more. Information can be found at or on their local facebook page “The Children’s Heart Foundation- Michigan.”