Child with Down Syndrome struggles to get life-saving surgery

A Lake Charles family is struggling to save their special needs daughter's life. Talia Meo, 3, was born with Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder that gives her an extra 21st chromosome and comes with a host of health problems and distinctive physical traits. She badly needs open heart surgery to fix a hole in heart, said Dru Meo, Talia's Mother. "[It's] extremely scary because you never know what kind of complications she's going to have," continued Meo.

Congenital heart defects affect about 50 percent of all children born with Down Syndrome, according to the National Down Syndrome Society. Talia is, "coughing up blood, mucus and stuff that is from the blood in her lungs," said Meo. Though Medicaid helps with medical bills, the Meo family still battles financial difficulties and the most pressing issue is transporting and caring for Talia while in New Orleans for the surgery.

"It's something that I have to do for her," said Meo. She said her daughter is worth it.

"Her laugh and her face when she wakes up in the morning! She's beautiful.  She's healthy. I mean besides this and what could possibly happen, she's a normal little girl. She's just a little bit slower than a normal child."

Now the family hopes to make it to New Orleans' Oschners Hospital for surgery soon as they scrimp and save what they can.

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