Becoming A Fighter

by | Sep 23, 2019 | Spotlight

 Five-year-old Payton Madden is a happy, sassy girl, who loves to sing and dance.
Chase Sime is an 18-month-old, who loves to play with his cars and wrestle with his older brother.
Looking at the two of them, you would have no idea that they have been through so much in their young lives. Both Santa Clarita residents were born with heart defects. Both had open-heart surgery within days after being born.
Payton was born with half a heart, a condition that was diagnosed when she was still in her mother’s womb. At just three days old, Payton had her first open-heart surgery. She had two more at six months and at 2 years old, plus six other procedures. Payton has to take a lot of medicine and while she may not be able to do everything a kid with a healthy heart can do, she is a fighter.
Born three weeks early, Chase went home after a few days at the neonatal intensive care unit. During a follow-up wellness check, doctors discovered he had a heart defect that affected blood flow from his lungs to his heart. The condition was detected by pulse ox screening, which Chase’s grandfather, Bob Larlee, advocated for as an American Heart Association volunteer. Shortly after the diagnosis, Chase underwent open-heart surgery to correct the defect.
Chase and Payton are thriving, but their battles are far from over. The Madden and Sime families are counting on advances in research to ensure a long and healthy life for their heart warriors. Both families are participating in the American Heart Association’s Santa Clarita Heart & Stroke Pop-Up on November 9, 2019. The event, which takes place at Bridgeport Park from 7:30-11 a.m., brings Santa Clarita community members together to have fun, get inspired and support healthy hearts and minds. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy group walks, health screenings, fun fitness activities and more. Sign up at
Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases claim the lives of more than 830,000 men, women and children every year. In Los Angeles County, heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 2 killers. Funds raised at the Heart & Stroke Pop-Up help create new technologies, such as the artificial heart valve, cholesterol drugs, stents, and the mechanical heart pump which help save, extend and improve the lives of patients every day.
The funds also support local programs to ensure equitable health for all, including making healthy food more accessible and affordable, building active communities, bringing health programs to communities in need, improving best practices for treating heart disease and stroke, and advocating for policies that impact cardiovascular health.
The Heart & Stroke Pop-Up is sponsored by Keck Medicine of USC, Huntington Hospital, UCLA Health, Adventist Health and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.