ROANOKE, Va. – From the day Layla came into this world, her smile lit up a room.
“She just had this smile that made all of life’s problems sort of disappear,” said her dad, Matt Walters.
But Layla was born with a congenital heart defect. At just six days old, she had open-heart surgery.
“She did amazing during her recovery and all the doctors were kind of surprised at how quickly we were able to go home,” said her mom Kristen.
Before her two-month birthday, everything changed.
“Her lips started to turn purple, you could tell her demeanor changed, that beautiful smile wasn’t there,” Matt said.
As Kristen called 911, Matt gave Layla CPR. She was rushed to the hospital where life-saving efforts continued.
“They reached the point where the doctor came to us and said, we have to stop. So that’s when we knew. And that’s when we went into the room she was in because we couldn’t bring ourselves to go in there,” Kristen added.
Layla Jo Walters died at seven weeks old and since that day in November 2019, her parents made it their mission to keep her memory alive, while raising money and awareness for other babies with congenital heart defects.
“Raise as much money as we can and cut a check to CHD in our daughter’s name. And that’s what we’re trying to do,” Matt explained.
With the help of his employer, Buffalo Wild Wings, the Layla Jo Walters Golf Outing was born. This fundraiser will benefit the cause near and dear to their hearts.
“There’s not a lot of research for CHD, and they’re working to increase that to have better outcomes,” said Kristen.
In the shadow of their grief, came a bright light.
Last year, they had another little girl, named Delaney.
“She’s going to grow up and she’s going to know about her sister and how brave and strong she was,” Matt added.
Now, Layla’s legacy will help save the lives of other little ones.
The inaugural Layla Jo Walters Memorial Golf Outing is on August 5 at Blue Hills Golf Club in Roanoke. The fundraiser will benefit Conquering CHD Virginia, an organization supporting research, awareness, and resources for congenital heart disease.
If you would like to register, you can find more information here.