sioux falls, sd
A pair of boots might not mean a lot to most people, but for Karena Damm, they are a symbol of hope.
"We've been relying on hope, faith and trust. It's pretty much what we've been having to go by ever since I was pregnant with her. Really, we just had to have faith," Damm said.
Damm is the mother of two-year-old Saphira, who was born three months early with respiratory problems and a hole in her heart. Since birth, Saphira has faced several medical complications.
"She was in the hospital for nine months, pretty much had a tube shoved down her throat. And then when she was nine months old, she had surgery to have a trachea. And actually this year in June is when she actually had the trach removed," Damm said.
When Saphira was about two months old she came down with pneumonia. The doctors told Damm to be ready to say goodbye to her little girl.
"Seeing her, I didn't want it to happen when I was in there. But she was tough and she made it through the night. And day by day it was amazing. A week later she was completely off of all that high support. And it was like someone was holding her hand the whole time telling her, 'it's okay,'' Damm said.
After seeing a pair of boots with the word "faith" on them on the Dakota Scents Facebook page, Damm decided to sign up to win a pair. She did this just before Saphira was scheduled to have heart surgery to fix a hole in her heart.
"That would be so awesome to have with Saphira's surgery, because with everything we had already been through with Saphira, it seems like everything helps in a way. So having these boots, to me, it seemed like it would help a little bit more," Damm said.
Damm didn't win the raffle, but the outpour of compassion Dakota Scents received from the public led the shop owner to do something special for the struggling mom.
"She said, I would love to win these boots, my three-year-old daughter is having open heart surgery in two weeks and I would love to walk in faith," Dakota Scent owner Kim Vilhauer said. "Well immediately we had responses on Facebook. I had over 20 personal messages, if I win these boots please give them to this lady. So we decided 'tis the time of the year and we love to give back to the people, we would give this lady a pair of the boots."
The spirit of giving didn't stop there. After word spread about Damm and her daughter's story, others offered their gifts as well.
"A friend of mine that has Sentimental Charm, had called me the same night that we made the post and she made her a necklace that says Faith," Vilhauer said.
And for a mom and her daughter, it was never about receiving gifts. All they hoped for was to have a little more strength and a lot more Faith.
"I think through everything we've been through with her, it's truly a miracle because she obviously has a purpose in this world. And I think she will go far," said Damm.
Saphira was scheduled to have open heart surgery this week, but because of complications, that has been pushed back until December 10.
Karena has not figured out how they are going to pay for the surgery, but they have been receiving help from family members and the Children's Miracle Network.
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