Charlotte Downey, Somerville, 10


Charlotte was born on May 30, 2004 with Total Anomalous Pulmonary Veinous Return (TAPVR).  This required emergency transport to NY for open heart surgery at 12 hours old.  After surgery she was placed on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), a procedure that uses a machine to take over the work of the lungs and  the heart. It is a special way for a machine to help your child, while he or she is very sick  as it provide time for the body to rest and recover.  Charlotte sustained multiple organ damage and a stroke.  Her kidney damage was so severe that she required a transplant before the age of 2.  22 of Charlotte's first 36 month were in the hospital. 16 of those months she was in critical care.  

In October of 2005, Charlotte has her second open heart surgery.   Charlotte was learning to eat by mouth, walk in a gait trainer and talk when we realized she had lost her hearing from her early trauma and meds.

In June of 2011, she received a cochlear implant and was making great progress. 

In February of 2012, Charlotte was diagnosed with Lymphoma.  Her cancer is transplant related and causes rapid growing malignant tumors.   Charlotte had 3 tumors in her brain.  The largest tumor was surgically removed and the others responded well to several rounds of chemotherapy.  Charlotte is now in remission. 

It's hard to even understand what the past 10 years has been like for their family.  Charlotte is treated at Columbia / NY Presbyterian which alone can add up to $50 per day in just tolls, parking and fuel.  Their  family's credit has been ruined by the medical bills that they have been unable to keep up with.  This impacts everything including their ability to purchase a wheelchair accessible van which they very much need. 

Steps Together is now welcoming Charlotte into our community.  She has been blessed to also receive assistance from Jack's Kids and the Shannon Daly Memorial Fund.  Her family is also currently being assisted by Heartworks who is hosting a large fundraiser to put a bedroom and bathroom on their first floor as carrying Charlotte upstairs is no longer possible.  Assistance provided by our organization will go towards purchasing a handicap van and paying off the home renovations.


How can I help the Downey Family? 

  • Anyone wishing to make a donation direct to the Downey family can mail a check payable to Linda Downey to Steps Together, PO BOX 5773, Hillsborough, NJ 08844 and it will be forwarded accordingly. Please note that donations made directly to the families detailed on this site are not tax deductible as they are not processed through our organization.
  • Host a fundraiser and contact Steps Together to have it detailed on this page.
  • Click here to make a tax deductible donation to Steps Together.  Steps Together is a Hillsborough based 501(c)(3) organization that assists families in our community facing a medical crisis.   Steps Together assists all the families we detail. 
  • At this time there is no direct online giving or social media pages specific to Charlotte.  If they become available, we will update this page.