Defying Odds

By: Kelly Sparks
By: Kelly Sparks

Doctors told her she probably wouldn’t make it to her graduation day but Sunday night, 18-year old Leslie Keown received her diploma.

“It’s scary, it’s scary cause I’m not supposed to graduate.”

When Leslie was just 9 days old doctors discovered the left side of her heart wasn’t developed and she would need a heart transplant.

Leslie’s Aunt Wanda Gann, remembers that day well.

“When she was born for about 15 minutes I was so happy and then they came out and told us we had a large problem.”

Leslie is a first for doctors because she is the only infant heart transplant patient to make it to adulthood, the doctors are still learning from her.

“They haven’t had anybody live over 16,” Leslie said.

Leslie must take almost 20 pills a day to stay alive and travels to Kosiar Children’s Hospital in Louisville several times a year for check-ups including a catherization done every 6 months.

The Franklin native will attend Bowling Green Technical College this fall and plans to study radiology. She says one of the reason she chose radiology is to help people they way others have helped her.


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