GEORGETOWN, KY. (LEX 18) — Two-year-old Brynn Warren's laughter as she played on the playground in a neighborhood park Monday morning was nothing short of contagious.
"It brings us a lot of joy and happiness to see her giggle and laugh and be happy again," Brynn's father, Jimmie Warren, said.
Brynn's parents, Jimmie and Kristyn, said they're beyond grateful to see this side of Brynn after a traumatic year.
"It was probably the hardest thing I've ever been through," Jimmie said.
For more than five months she was in the hospital fighting for her life.
"I just couldn't fathom what was going on," Kristyn said. "I just remember curling up in a ball and crying for hours just because I couldn't imagine it. It was a hard thing to process."
Brynn was born with cardiomyopathy. The left ventricle of her heart was so enlarged that it was hard for her heart to pump blood through her body.
Over time, her condition worsened. On June 19th, she got a heart transplant.
"There's nothing that can prepare you for this," Jimmie said. "Going through it, it can break a lot of people. But somehow, we've made it through together. Stronger together."
Jimmie credits the doctors and nurses at Cincinnati Children's Hospital for guiding them through it.
Their family has supported them as well. Kristyn's dad and sister watched over their three other girls while they were in the hospital.
Friends and even strangers have also sent gifts and letters of encouragement.
"This really meant so much," Kristyn said tearfully as she pulled a stack of letters written by a church congregation out of an envelope. "This meant so much to my husband and me to sit down and read. Just really felt the love that we have from everybody around here."
They are also eternally grateful to the family that donated their child's heart so Brynn could live.
"Brynn wouldn't be here if it weren't for those parents to make the decision for Brynn to receive their child's heart," Kristyn said. "I could never be grateful enough. I could never express my gratitude toward that family, but I've made a promise to myself and to that other family that I will take as good care of that heart as I can to make sure that their baby didn't die in vain."
The Warrens still have a long road ahead to care for Brynn as a transplant recipient, but they are hopeful for the future.
They are also praying that Brynn's twin and sister don't have the same issues as Brynn. They were also diagnosed with cardiomyopathy.
"Of course, I will do whatever it takes for my kids, but I can't imagine going through this again, so I'm just praying that this won't happen for them as well."