2-year-old to undergo open heart surgery - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

2-year-old to undergo open heart surgery

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Riley Jackson is on the move. Just two days after Christmas, she is still naming toys.

Her mother, Diamond, spent more than she planned to on her daughter this year, but you can't blame her, as it has been a brutal holiday season.

It started after Thanksgiving when 2-year-old Riley came down with a cough that wouldn't quit.

"She just struggled so hard to sleep; it was just miserable. She was soaking wet with sweat and coughing, and she just couldn't sleep," Diamond Jackson said.

When they went back to the doctor, they found out that Riley has a massive hole in her heart.

"It was a hard pill to swallow. Like when he first said it, I just had to sit there and process it," Jackson said.

That was on Dec. 15. Since then, a lot has happened.

Jackson has been forced to cut back on her overnight job at a nursing home, and Riley is now scheduled for open heart surgery at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital on Jan. 13.

"She's so little, and I just can't imagine. I've never had any kind of surgery, so for her to be 2 and to be having open heart surgery is just tearing me apart," Jackson said.

At this point, Riley can't risk a winter cold. She already has fluid and blood backing into her lungs and is down to about 20 pounds.

As a single, working mother, Jackson is living with less income and an unknown bill at the end of the day.

"It is hard financially because I still have bills to maintain," she said. "I'm just hanging by a thread."

As far as the surgery, she hasn't asked how much it will cost.

"She has TennCare, so I don't know if it's going to cover the whole thing because nobody has said anything to me about numbers," Jackson said. "We'll have to figure out a way to pay for it."

A GoFundMe account has been set up for Riley. Click here to visit her page.

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