Parents are told they must raise $3.2 million in order to save their baby
The couple was ecstatic to be having a baby, but after Zofia's first ultrasound, they received some devastating news.
D.G. Sciortino

Could you put a price on your child’s life?

Zofia Fenrych and Rob Velez, a U.S. Marine Vet, who live just outside of London in the UK, could not.

But they’re being told it will cost $3.2 million to keep their daughter alive.

Soon after witnessing their 16-week-old unborn child suck her thumb and wiggle around via ultrasound, they found out baby Dorothea had hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

“It went from this happy moment of seeing her for the first time to this abyss where we wondered what the issue might be,” Fenrych told INSIDER.

According to the Mayo Clinic, hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a rare heart defect present at birth where the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped and prevents the left side of the heart from pumping blood to the lungs and the rest of the body.

Without a series of costly operations, baby Dorthea would only have a 10 to 20 percent chance of survival. Their doctors suggested that they terminate the pregnancy.

“She said it as if was such an easy thing – but we’d just seen our baby playing around in my belly. We had love for her. It was like, ‘how could you suggest that straight away?'”

After a visit to a fetal cardiologist a few days later, they learned that Dorothea would require surgery three days after her birth.

This surgery would rebuild her heart and veins.

She would also need a second surgery at three to six months later and another at the age of 3.

Dorothea would also probably need a heart transplant in her teens.

Dorothea would only have about a 60 percent chance of survival by the time she was 5.

She would, however, be able to have a normal childhood.

Termination of the pregnancy wasn’t an option for Fenrych and Velez, who have a 2-year-old named Bathsheba, due to their religious beliefs.

So, they turned to their faith and looked for signs of hope.

They found a few success stories about people with the condition, including a 17-year-old ballerina.

Things, unfortunately, only got more difficult eight weeks later when Dorothea needed in-utero surgery in the U.S., the only place the surgery could be done.

At 24-weeks, Dorothea’s heart was creating overflow to her lungs and it could only be cleared with the surgery.

While it would give her daughter an 87 percent chance of reaching the age of 5, that surgery costs $3.2 million.

Just Giving Screenshot
Just Giving Screenshot

“Dorothea is our daughter and we will do anything and everything possible to save her life. So, we will fight on,” said Velez.

So far, the family has raised over $2 million thanks to the Tree of Hope UK children’s charity.

Fenrych has about four weeks left to undergo the procedure before it’s too late.

“Our daughter’s case has moved a lot of hearts in this world,” Fenrych said. “She hasn’t been born into it yet, but people have shown so much kindness.”

In addition to donations, the family is also asking for prayers. You can donate to Dorothea’s surgery here.

Hear more about the couple’s heartbreaking story in the video below.

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By D.G. Sciortino
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at