'Wolverine fans for life': Washington baby saved by U-M health team

A family from the Seattle area is rooting for the Wolverines after the University of Michigan’s health team saved their baby's life.

"We are Wolverine fans for life," said Washington resident Leah Moore. "I wish there were words to explain it. To go from ‘your little boy is going to die and there’s no options’ to finding somebody to help him and actually give him a chance."

As Michigan took on Washington in the college football national championship Monday night, Moore's son, Eligh repped the Wolverines after recently undergoing surgery for a heart defect.

"To be able to bring him home and to be able to hold him every night is phenomenal," Moore said.

Eligh was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare congenital heart defect where the left side of the heart does not develop properly. He spent weeks in the ICU after his birth. 

"He was a really sick little guy," said Dr. Jennifer Romano. "I have to honestly say the first time I saw Eligh, I really honestly didn’t think that he was going to make it."

Romano, the pediatric cardiac surgeon at Mott Children's Hospital, performed the critical procedure after Eligh’s mother found her contact information on a parent’s group online.

"His mom just randomly emailed me," Romano said. "Like literally in all of my string of emails, one of them said just in all caps ‘SAVE MY BABY.’"

The high-risk surgery Eligh underwent is not widely offered around the country, according to medical experts. But thanks to Romano and her team, the boy is moving in the right direction.

"He is a fighter and he just continued to make strides and make improvements," Romano said. "He kept moving forward. He’s been through three open-heart surgeries, and he’s now 8 months old…and was home a couple of weeks before Christmas."

For Eligh’s mom, it’s all about gratitude.

The U-M health team worked "so hard to fight to keep him alive and to get him strong so he could get through these surgeries," she said. "I just love them and appreciate them very much."