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Keyes rallies around girl in need
Students collecting cash to help Shelby get a heart transplant
Keyes student Shelby Christopher is in need of heart transplant. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The community of Keyes is rallying around a nine-year-old girl who is in need of a heart transplant.

Born with a congenital defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), Shelby Nicole Christopher needs a new heart. Before the transplant can proceed, however, the family must raise about $10,000 to pay for lodging near the Reagan Medical Center and other expenses while demonstrating financial stability.

To help her, the Keyes Elementary Student Council is collecting spare coinage and paper money from students over the next three weeks. To help generate enthusiasm, the students have been told that the class that brings in the most money each week will earn a fun activity or prize.

If it weren't for the bluish tint in her lips, most people probably cannot tell that Shelby Nicole, who lives in Keyes with her five siblings and dad, has a critical heart condition. HLHS affects normal blood flow through the heart. The condition is caused during pregnancy when the left side of the baby's heart does not develop correctly. She also tires more easily because blood flow is lacking and cannot run or engage in strenuous physical activity. Her father says that it's important that Shelby undergoes the surgery before her heart fails.
The community may donate to Shelby's cause online by visiting

As of Monday, $1,850 had been raised through the website.