Little ‘Heart Warrior’ is breathing easier

Lisa Ingebrand, Life/Enterprise

Alex Ahlbrecht, 3, who is known locally as the “Heart Warrior,” is at home in Waterville recovering after an extensive heart and pulmonary surgery in California. (Photo courtesy of Ahlbrechts)

Waterville’s little Heart Warrior is breathing easier this Valentine’s Day.

Three-year-old Alex Ahlbrecht, son of Craig and Stephanie Ahlbrecht, recently returned from a three-week stay at Standford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California, where he underwent an intricate open-heart surgery to repair his heart and expand 20 small vessels in hopes of increasing the blood flow to his lungs.

Thankfully, the 20-hour surgery was successful.

“I don’t think it could have gone any better. I think even his surgeon was surprised how well it went,” Craig reported of not only his son’s surgery, but the family’s cross-country trip to see one of the nation’s top pediatric surgeons, Dr. Frank Hanley.

“Alex’s cardiology team in Rochester did everything they could and were truly great, but no one there felt comfortable doing more. They did all they could and asked if they could send Alex’s records to Dr. Hanley in California for review,” Stephanie explained. “Of course, we said yes. He’s our son, we’ll do whatever we need to do.”

At that time, the Ahlbrechts didn’t know if Dr. Hanley would agree to...

To see more on this story pick up the February 13, 2020 print editions of the Life/Enterprise papers.


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