Katelyn Jackson’s story is told in a song, featuring her own voice and heartbeat.
The Oakville Elementary School student was the inspiration for a new song by Erin Bode, an international recording artist from St. Louis. Katelyn sang back-up in the song and her own heartbeat can be heard in the background.
Katelyn met Bode while she going through heart catheterization at St Louis Children’s Hospital. The 10-year-old has undergone six heart surgeries in her lifetime.
“She was born with a giant hole in the center of her heart, where all the blue blood and red blood mixes together,” said Karin Jackson, Katelyn’s mom.
Katelyn had surgery when she was only four months old, but then developed an infection that tore apart her repair and started additional surgeries.
“Back then, it was a very dark period in our parenting,” Karin Jackson said. “My husband has said that the second heart surgery, he didn’t think she would survive. We’re in a very cautious golden age with Katelyn now.”
Although she might have more surgeries in the future, Katelyn is optimistic about her health. In fact, when she grows up, she wants to become a doctor.
“I know so much about my heart and want to help other kids,” she said.
The Jacksons, who have three other children, have spent time volunteering with the hospital and mentor other parents going through the same experience.
Karin Jackson said her daughter has stayed sassy throughout the surgeries. It was her sense of humor that led hospital staff to connect Katelyn and Bode.
The St. Louis-based singer was looking for an inspiration to bring awareness to children with heart defects.
“We heard the song and we decided that we liked it,” Katelyn said. “We heard the final product and thought it was amazing, how it all came about.”
The song is called “The Space Between” and is available on iTunes. A portion of the proceeds will go to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The pair was also featured on KDSK’s Making a Difference segment.
Bode will also perform the song Feb. 25 at the Hearts in Harmony event.