Reporting Gigi Barnett
CATONSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — A six-year-old awaiting her second heart transplant dies before the life-saving surgery. This weekend, family and friends are saying goodbye to the little girl.
Gigi Barnett has more.
Six-year-old Teresa Bartlinski was rarely without her tiara. Her family says it made her feel like a princess while awaiting a life-saving heart transplant.
“She was also such a princess. If Teresa could not find a mirror to look at herself, she would use a doorknob or a dinner spoon to see her reflection,” said her brother, Eddy Bartlinski.
On Monday, Teresa couldn’t wait any longer. She died at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. This weekend, her family and friends at St. Mark Church in Catonsville said goodbye.
“As Teresa’s little body grew weaker, her inner strength grew stronger,” said Father Christopher Whatley. “And now the crown of glory, the crown of triumph awaits her.”
“Teresa was fiercely independent. She never let her disability hinder what she wanted to do. She often said, `I got this,’” said family friend Mary Scavilla.
Teresa was born in China with a congenital heart disease. Ed and Ann Bartlinski adopted her back in 2010, bringing her to the US, where she could get on the heart donor list.
After waiting for nearly a year, the organ came last month.
“We prayed for a miracle, a miracle for God to heal her heart and lungs,” Whatley said. “Although it was not God’s will for Teresa to be given that life here on Earth.”
But Teresa’s body rejected the organ. She died as doctors tried to give her an artificial heart.
Her family says Teresa’s struggle wasn’t in vain, as her life touched thousands.
“This little girl is a saint,” Whatley said. “She has followed her Jesus.”
In addition to their four biological children, the Bartlinskis have adopted four other girls from China. They also have special needs.
The Bartlinskis say they hope Teresa’s life will spark more adoptions of children with disabilities.
After the funeral, Teresa was buried in Woodlawn.