ETX infant welcomed home for first time after open heart surgery - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

ETX infant welcomed home for first time after open heart surgery

Big sister helps with Kensington's recovery Big sister helps with Kensington's recovery

An East Texas infant is finally home after being airlifted to a Dallas hospital for open heart surgery. 

The Maxwell family may look familiar. Little Remmington Maxwell made national news when she ran to her father's side and stood at attention in May of this year. 

Now, her little sister is winning over the hearts of East Texans as she continues to recover after spending weeks in ICU.

On Friday afternoon, Roni Kensington Maxwell received kisses and hugs from many friends and family for the very first time. 

"No one got to see her, she was incubated almost immediately after birth," her father Dustin Maxwell explained.  

That is until now, when family, including her grandfather who she is named after, welcomed her home with loving arms.

Loved ones lined the street anxiously awaiting their arrival home from a Dallas hospital. 

The Maxwells said it was a normal pregnancy, but knew something was wrong within five minutes of their daughter's birth. 

"She was discolored, she was turning blue in her hands and feet, her face was turning blue and she was getting no oxygen throughout her body," Dustin explained. 

The Maxwells said little Kensi was immediately taken from East Texas Medical Center to the NICU unit at Mother Frances Hospital where she was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.

"About three hours after we were at Mother Frances, she was air-lifted, her and I, were air-lifted to Children's Medical Center in Dallas," Dustin said. 

Meanwhile, mom Natalie was still at ETMC recovering from the surgery.

"It was hard because I just gave birth, but I didn't have my baby," Natalie said with tears in her eyes. 

"My sister only got to kiss her baby and then she didn't get to see her again for a day and a half. So, I just wanted to do as much as I could. I literally ran to Trinity Mother Frances and took pictures for her and video and brought it back and opened the window so she could see the helicopter fly off," Natalie's sister Angela Holleman said. 

"I was released from the hospital about 26 hours after my C-section and my sister immediately drove me to Dallas after I got discharged. So, she was one day and a few hours old when I finally got to see her," Natalie said. 

And it was only a few days later, at just eight days hold, that Kensington had open heart surgery. 

The Maxwells said thanks to a great medical team, prayers and support, Kensington is finally home for the first time. 

And as this little girl's heart continues to grow stronger, family said she has made their hearts grow too. 

"She's made all of our hearts grow," Natalie said. 

Family said Kensington is on the road to recovery, but with this medical emergency came some unexpected expenses and an extended leave from work for Dustin. 

To help with these costs, community members are hosting a benefit luncheon at the couple's church.

It is scheduled for Sunday, October 20 at Bible Baptist Church in Overton, that is located at 704 E Mckay Street. 

They said the luncheon will begin right after service at 12:30 p.m. Organizers said they will be selling brisket and sausage sandwiches complete with chips and a drink for $7. All proceeds will go directly to the Maxwell family. 

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