Farm Bureau - Melissa Wheeler

The North Bend Eagle


New heart gives child new life

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 7/14/21

Gwenivere Eve Lewis was born Oct. 2, 2018, with a heart that could not support her.

On June 13, 2021, Gwen received a stronger, healthier heart. One that, hopefully, will give her new possibilities in her life.

Gwen Lewis, 2, enjoys some outside time after being hospitalized for more than three months waiting for a heart transplant. The feeding tube shown has since been removed on a trial basis.

Gwen spent 91 days in the hospital. After 13 days of testing and maintenance, she was put on the transplant list. On June 12 a benefit was held at the North Bend City Auditorium for Gwen and her family. It was during that event the family received “the” phone call they had been waiting for. A heart was available for Gwen.

The six-hour operation was performed June 13 at Children’s Medical Center in Omaha. She was on intravenous medications to support and prevent any decrease in the function of her heart. Her other organs were not affected.

“By day three or four she was acting like her old self again,” mom Charlene Lewis said.

Gwen is on eight anti-rejection medications now and will taper off over the next year. She will be on two anti-rejection medications for her entire life.

Gwen was on a cardiac bypass machine during surgery. The blood removed from her was given back the next day.

Her parents saw a blood drive at Children’s while they were there and both donated.

“It’s a nice way to give back,” Charlene said.

Ten days after her surgery, Gwen was able to go home, to see her siblings, Morrigan, 4, and Elliot, 1, for the first time in months. Gwen remains in quarantine at home with her family for three months. Her grandparents, Jim and Kathy Lewis of North Bend, have been to see her through the front glass door.

“I just wish I could snuggle with my grandbaby,” grandmother Kathy Lewis said.

“Jim said he loves seeing those chubby cheeks.”

Great-grandmother Penny Lewis of North Bend is satisfied with Facebook postings and pictures shared of Gwen.


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