The Krueger Hat Trick Foundation is a non-profit organization whole-heartedly devoted to providing hope & support for families inflicted by Congenital Heart Defects/Disease. Every year nearly 40,000 babies are born with CHD, which is nearly 110 children per day. Despite these numbers, CHDs are not well-known and research is underfunded.
When Katelin and Tom found out they were pregnant, it was a miracle. Katelin had battled women’s health issues in the past and they weren’t sure if they could actually get pregnant. Three months after their wedding vows they received, what they thought, was one gift from God... they actually received three gifts - thus began the Krueger Hat Trick Family.
The True Journey
The true journey of the Heart World started at Katelin’s 12-week sonogram where they noticed that something was different with Aiden’s heart. After weeks of appointments with cardiac fetal doctors, Aiden was diagnosed with Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries - a rare heart defect that occurs when the ventricles (lower heart chambers) and valves are switched. Aiden was also diagnosed with severe Pulmonary Stenosis - a condition caused by a narrowing of the pulmonary valve (which pushes blood to the lungs). To correct this, the doctors would perform a Double Switch surgery where they would switch the great arteries (the original problem), as well as create pathways for the blood to enter the correct ventricles. At first, it was thought this surgery would be done within days, another thought was within 6 months.
A Normal Tuesday
Fast forward to May 2, 2017, when Zachary, Aiden, and Jacob were born. It was a normal Tuesday, except that the University of Maryland Medical Center admitted three little Krueger boys into their NICU. Aiden was a fighter from the beginning, and although smaller than his identical brother, Jacob, he was breathing on his own, gaining weight, and all around doing amazing. As a team, we decided to re-evaluate at 3 months, then again at 6 months. Aiden did amazing. He kept up with his brothers and although we continued with regular appointments, surgery was to be re-evaluated at his 2-year appointment.
This is where things changed. Around 2 years old there was a noticeable change in Aiden’s activity level. He couldn’t keep up with his brothers as much. He became easily exhausted, would start to breathe heavily when running around, and at times his lips would turn blue. It was time. It started with a cardiac MRI where Aiden was put to sleep and thousands of pictures were taken of his little heart. Then came the cardiac catheterization where it was determined that his severe Pulmonary Stenosis was extremely severe as well as a handful of other complications. Tom and Katelin had so much faith in Aiden’s team and it was decided that open-heart surgery was the best route for Aiden.
On October 2, 2019, little Aiden went into his open-heart surgery with an amazing staff. After many hours in the operating room, he was moved to the Pediatric ICU where his little body had a difficult time handling the trauma it had just incurred. Aiden fought up until the end, but couldn’t hang on. Aiden became the most perfect angel around 9 pm that evening.
Aiden became the most perfect angel
Aiden still has such a huge impact on so many and the Krueger Hat Trick Foundation is his way of bringing light to so many. Aiden’s family - Katelin, Tom, Jacob, and Zachary - along with supporters both near and far who are dedicated to keeping Aiden’s legacy alive through the Krueger Hat Trick Foundation. The foundation believes that we can all be a part of the good. Through the work and dedication of the foundation, no one will forget about the 2 years and 5 months legend that was Aiden Krueger!