Keeping Kelsey in our thoughts

Lisa and John Corlito with their daughter Kelsey.

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In East Boston the name John White is synonymous with everything that is good in decent in an otherwise crazy world. As East Boston APAC Director for 30 years White has helped scores of people through tough times but never asked for any glory or fanfare for his work.

It shocked me to find out last week that White’s granddaughter Kelsey Corlito is sick, and Kelsey’s parents, Lisa and John, are in need of help. They need the same kind of help their dad had bestowed on generations of East Bostonians over these past three decades.

On November 16, 2010, Kelsey had her sixth open heart surgery in seven months. Diagnosed with an atrial septal defect at birth, a condition that is usually mended by one simple and easy procedure, a 3-4 day hospital stay and a quick recovery turned into a nightmare for Lisa and John.

“There has been nothing simple and easy about Kelsey’s condition, Kelsey has undergone a series of corrective surgeries, including two mitral valve replacements, multiple cardiac catheters, internal bleeding, pulmonary edema and countless hours of fighting for her life,” said her mom.

Kelsey has been on an external pacing device, a ventilator for days at a time after each procedure, multiple paralytic drugs and at her worst, hooked up to a heart/lung machine that kept her alive for four days after her fourth surgery when her little heart was too just too tired to start again.

“Her tiny little incision has been opened and reopened, again and again,” said Lisa. “She now has a tissue valve and permanent pacemaker; both will need to be replaced at some point down the road.”

Kelsey has battled more than what anyone should have to endure in the course of a lifetime and at only 19 months it’s safe to say that Kelsey’s a fighter.

Born June 17, 2009, Kelsey arrived weighing only five pounds, three ounces. Small in size, she has been fighting this immense, courageous battle since April.

At her bedside, refusing to leave, are Lisa and John but all the tears, hugs, and prayers from Kelsey’s bedside are not enough to mend her heart.

The surgeries and months of hospital care have financially crippled the Corlitos and put their livelihood and home, and her health, at risk.

“It is never easy to ask people for help, especially financially,” said Lisa. “But any contributions would help change Kelsey’s good health and future from a possibility and prognosis, to a reality. Our family would like to thank you for your prayers, your kindness, and your generosity. Most of all, we’d like to thank you for helping make miracles happen.”

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“In those years John White has helped people in the community who were having difficult times and managed going above and beyond to make their lives better no matter what it took,” said ABCD Board Member Patti Powers. “He is a wonderful humble man with genuine concern for all who walked through the doors at APAC. I think it is time for us to give John and his family back the kind charity he has given us for all the years he gave of his time, and genuine concern.”

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