Kansas boy, 5, born with half a heart awaiting transplant in Chicago

CHICAGO -- A 5-year-old boy from Kansas is in Chicago as he waits for a heart transplant.

Instead of playing with his brother and sister at their Wichita home, John Francis is at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, hooked up to machines that keep him alive.

He was born with a rare condition and only has half of a heart, reports KAKE.

"He's had a number of surgeries to help correct this," the boy's father, John Clark, said.

His parents, John and Hemma Clark have been in Chicago since late last month when they learned the boy's health had deteriorated too much for him to have the third in a series of surgeries to postpone the need for a transplant. Now, a transplant is his only option.

Doctors have told Hemma and John to expect up to two years in Chicago while John Francis waits for a new heart. That means putting a pause on their Wichita life.

For now, their mothers and extended family are taking care of their other two children.

"We are really trying to keep them as connected as possible, as well as maintaining routines as much as we can," said John Francis' grandmother Ulrike Eccher.

Eventually, they'll join their parents and John Francis in Chicago.

"The hope is they'll find a decent place in Chicago where the family can go and establish a somewhat-normal life," said John Francis' grandmother Jane Clark.

For a couple with strong faith, their request for help is simple: "We really just ask for prayers. First and foremost, we ask people to pray for him," Hemma Clark said.
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.