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8-year-old girl prepares for fourth open-heart surgery

Khia, 8, is scheduled to have open-heart surgery at Doernbecher Children's Hospital next month. (KATU Photo)

LONGVIEW, Wash. — A family here just found out their 8-year-old daughter will need open-heart surgery for the fourth time.

The family’s fallen on hard times, recently, and is struggling to make ends meet.

Khia was born with heart disease and at just 4 days old had her first open-heart surgery.

“Oh that was rough. It was rough, because we spent three months in the hospital,” says Mike Romo, Khia’s father.

Fifteen surgeries later, Mike and Maria Romo got more bad news.

“Our hopes were really high that they were going to go through the cath lab, they were going to pump it open. Then we got hit with, she needs another surgery – something we’re not prepared for financially, emotionally or mentally, but now we have to be,” Mike says.

I tell them, I’m kinda nervous and afraid to go because I might be staying there for 10 days,” Khia says.

Khia and the family stay brave, but beneath the surface, it’s a struggle.

Mike, a veteran, is on short-term disability, and Maria is working two jobs to make ends meet. They have insurance that will cover a percentage of the surgery, but it is not enough.

“You don’t want to let your emotions out, because you want to be strong for your child, so that kinda makes it tough,” Mike says.

But Mike and Maria say they will be with Khia every step of the way.

“It’s more like comforting her – that we’ll be there when they take her and she’ll see our faces when she wakes up,” says Mike.

Khia is scheduled to have surgery at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital next month.

There is a GoFundMe page set up to help the family. Click here to help.

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