$15,262 of $25,000
185 donations

This fundraiser ended on 11/01/11

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Please help bring peace to Darien and her family while they battle this rare, life-threatening heart condition.

Update: It saddens me to share that beautiful Darien passed away on 9/3/11 around 3:30pm with Deana and Eric by her side. We are all devastated. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated and shown so much love and support to our family. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time for us all. The family appreciates continued assistance with medical costs.

Darien Reese Engelberger is my 11-year-old niece. Until 7/29/11 she was a healthy, active (highly above-average) kid. I was at her basketball practice at the YMCA on 7/29/11. Two hours later I received a text message from my sister saying that they were taking Darien to the ER because her heart rate was very high. Over the next 2 days Darien would be transferred to 3 different hospitals. She has been in Cardiovascular ICU at All Children's in St. Pete, FL since 7/31/11. Darien has been diagnosed with a life-threatening virus (human Parvovirus) that is attacking her heart. Thus far she has undergone 5 open heart surgeries and numerous procedures. Her heart is currently being supported by an LVAD pump. Darien's status changes from minute-to-minute. We are all waiting and praying that Darien's heart recovers, but this will take months and there is a possibility that she may need a heart transplant. Darien's parents, Deana and Eric, have been living at the hospital since Day 1. Here they are able to provide support to Darien and each other. Darien's little sister, Avery, is also able to visit the hospital daily. There have been so many people asking about Darien and what they can do to help. Please support Darien and her family. Contributions will help ensure that Darien gets the quality medical care that she so urgently needs and also allow Deana and Eric to continue to be with Darien at the hospital.

Being an aunt to Darien and Avery is the most important role I play in life and they have taught me so much about the world. Perhaps most importantly, Darien has taught me to lead by example. Darien has done so much volunteering in her young life and is already a proven leader. She demonstrates compassion and caring by working with her girl scout troop on numerous projects throughout the year. Darien also went on a trip to Washington, DC in June 2011 as part of People to People World Leadership Forum where she got to meet former First Lady Laura Bush!

Darien is the most inspiring person I have ever had the honor of knowing. She embodies the meaning of happiness, love, and life. She is truly innocent and loves all people and animals. Darien has a wild curiousity and love for learning. She dances, plays basketball, is an active girl scout, and the most amazing older sister to Avery. Darien doesn't just see the world with her eyes; she sees it with her heart. Please help bring peace back to her family.

Thank you to everyone who has sent thoughts and prayers to Darien and family.

Special thanks to the amazingly gifted and loving nurses and doctors taking care of Darien at All Children's Hospital, The Rolen Family, all of Darien and Avery's friends and classmates, and Donna Denhoff for leading me to this wonderful website and helping to movitate all of us!

Anyone wishing to send contributions directly to the family may send them to their home address: 4209 Jade Lane, Valrico, FL 33594.

Please visit Prayers for Darien on facebook.

I can be contacted with any questions. I can be reached at 813-340-0992 or

Thank you,
Mary Kate Owens & Darien's Family
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