Kinder Key Heart Warrior

Sometimes superheroes reside in the hearts of small children who have fought big battles. 


Callen, 2017 Heart Warrior

Meet our 2017 Heart Warrior Callen

Heart Condition: Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

During a routine ultrasound at 20 weeks in utero, Callen was diagnosed with Hypo Plastic Left Heart Syndrome. His devastated parents researched his condition and were grateful to learn that Nationwide Children’s Hospital is a leader in providing quality care to children born with this condition.

Callen, whose name fittingly means “powerful in battle,” was born on May 6, 2014. Within 24 hours of birth, he had his first heart surgery. The following four months were challenging. He was admitted several times and suffered through seizures, a stroke and feeding issues. But, he kept fighting. After his second heart surgery, his quality of life improved significantly. He began to eat on his own, gained physical strength and reached many developmental milestones. Callen recently had his third open heart surgery, which went well. He had a difficult recovery, but persevered on through – coming out stronger than before.

Now almost three years old – Callen is a lively, sweet, smart and brave boy whose smile and kind heart lights up every room. He is a fighter with a heart full of courage and plenty of love for everybody around him. He loves to sing, dance and wrestle and eat turkey pepperoni any time of day. He enjoys coloring and doing crafts with his big brother. He likes trucks, cars and trains. He also loves to be outside and loves camping! He recently went to a birthday party at a gymnastics academy and was able to keep up with all his other friends.

What does the Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital mean to Callen and his family?

“The Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s is a blessing to our family. We are so lucky that we are local and have access to their services. Over the past three years we have formed bonds with many of the staff from the Clinic, CTICU, Therapy, Child Life, Step-down and the CT Surgery team. Callen has made many friends with the staff there and they all have touched our hearts. There are so many resources within the Heart Center beyond Cardiology that have benefited Callen’s development. Everyone has been so informative and gone above and beyond to help not only Callen but our entire family adapt and be comfortable,” says Callen’s mom Lani.

How does a child become a Heart Warrior?

Only a parent or guardian of the child is permitted to fill out the form and share details about the child’s diagnosis, personal story and why they would make an excellent Heart Warrior. All information will remain confidential until patient stories have been vetted through the Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Heart Center. Parents will be required to sign an Authorization Form for Public Disclosure of Underage Patient Information before the child’s story is submitted for consideration by Kinder Key.

To nominate your child or tell your story, fill out the form on this page and make sure to select the "Heart  Warrior" check box.