On Valentine’s Day during Paisley Mae Arnold’s four-month check-up, her parents, Rick and Charity Arnold, insisted a physician take notice of
On Valentine's Day during Paisley Mae Arnold's four-month check-up, her parents, Rick and Charity Arnold, insisted a physician take notice of Paisley's lingering symptoms of a persistent cough and wheeze. After being taken to Loma Linda University Children Hospital, the Arnolds learned Paisley had an enlarged heart and would need a new one. (Courtesy photo)
When Rick and Charity Arnold were eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child last year, they had a whole cheering section of family and friends also waiting to meet little Paisley Mae.

While everyone commented on how perfect the tiny girl was, the Apple Valley twenty-something couple noticed their daughter seemed to have a persistent cough and wheeze.

"They took her to her pediatrician and were told it was nothing to worry about," said Darrell Feuerhahn, Rick Arnold's friend and a fellow San Bernardino County firefighter working out of Hesperia. "Being paramedics, we knew something wasn't right."

On Valentine's Day, during Paisley's four-month check-up, the young parents insisted the physician take notice of Paisley's symptoms.

That's when the parents learned something was wrong with their little girl, said Feuerhahn.

After being taken to Loma Linda University Children Hospital, the Arnolds learned Paisley had an enlarged heart.

"It was a hard thing for them," Feuerhahn said.

Paisley, the smiling 4-month-old, was born without a left coronary artery, which led to the enlarged heart, doctors told the family.

"This isn't something that can be fixed surgically," Feuerhahn said. "She needs a heart transplant."

Since that day, the Arnolds have experienced an overwhelming amount of support from family, friends, their community and their Fire Department family.

Friends have set up pages for Paisley on Facebook and on the fundraising site, www.GoFundMe.com, to help ease the parents' burden and allow them to focus on their daughter.

The Fire Department, said Feuerhahn, "is a family and I've experienced the overwhelming support they can give you."

Several years ago, Feuerhahn lost both parents in a vehicle crash.

"They were there for me the entire time," he said.

Friday, Paisley was placed on a machine that provides the infant with oxygenated blood.

Physicians hope to implant a device that will help the tiny girl's heart pump blood and hopefully give her enough time to find a suitable donor.

Alicia Brown of Oak Hills, who creates a variety of crocheted items, has come up with the Paisley hat and proceeds from the hat sales will go to the family.

The crocheted hat comes in different sizes and colors and all have a small, red heart on it. Brown is selling the hats for $15 for a child's size and $20 for an adult size.

Anyone who would like to donate to the family can do so by visiting www.GoFundMe.com and search for "Paisley Mae."

For updates or to leave words of encouragement for the Arnolds, visit their Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/ChangeofHeartforPaisleyMae.

beatriz.valenzuela@inlandnewspapers.com

909-386-3921, @IEBeatriz