Heart Warrior: Finn Abbott’s Journey with CHD

In late 2015, right in the middle of the holiday season, the Abbott family welcomed Finchley “Finn” Abbott into the world. Finn already had big brother Rhys, 2, at home and the family lived outside Atlanta, GA, where dad Anthony worked at Cafe Intermezzo. Rhys, Anthony and mom, Beth, brought Finn home and settled in with their sweet new baby, not yet knowing that Finn would become a heart warrior.

Just ten days later, the Abbotts found themselves back in the hospital, receiving a diagnosis that would drastically change the first few years of Finn’s life. Finn had been born with a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) that would need heart surgery immediately, with other surgeries possible down the road.

Beth described hearing the news that Finn had CHD: “Not knowing, prenatally, about his heart defects, we were thrust into an environment and situation we were not familiar with and, also, not prepared for. When crisis is thrust upon you, you can’t think straight. So many generous people come forward and asked, ‘What can I do? What do you need?’ All I could think of was diapers for our oldest son. Other than that, my mind was a complete blank.”

As Finn had heart surgery and began a recovery that would keep him in the hospital for almost a month, Beth reached out to CORE for help. Since Finn’s dad, Anthony, had been experiencing dizziness that kept him out of work for a short time even before Finn was born, the family needed extra support to cover the costs of a new baby needing medical attention. 

To help the Abbotts stay on top of the everyday while caring for Rhys and Finn, CORE sent the family a year’s supply of diapers and helped pay rent. Once Finn was a little older and fully recovered from surgery, we visited the family in their Georgia home and took them for a Target shopping spree. Rhys loved pushing around the wheelbarrow he found in the toy section and helping push the cart!

What does it mean for a family with a medically complex baby to receive support from CORE? “For someone (or some organization), who has the financial resources to help, to come forward and say, ‘What can we do? (Basically) the sky’s the limit,’ is such a relief,” Beth says. “That burden of ‘how are we going to make ends meet?’ lifted off your shoulders, is invaluable. Because they were able to fill the gaps, we were able to focus on Finn’s care and getting him home from the hospital. The basics, which they provided, was one less thing on our plate.”

Now, almost two years later, Finn is thriving. While he still has his G-tube, he’s drinking and eating almost entirely by mouth and even reaching most of his daily calorie goals—a huge milestone! While he still has a few minor bumps in the road to overcome, we know he has the strength and courage to face them all. This month we celebrate Finn Abbott, Heart Warrior, and all of our CORE Family members who are heart warriors!