Team Lia

On March 12, 2012 Sarah Janzen made a decision that would save her baby’s life. At one month old, Lia Janzen was diagnosed with Wollf-Parkinson-White syndrome. Thanks to her team of medical professionals and the prayers of family and friends, Lia is a happy nine-month-old. Now, her family needs help recovering financially.

The Janzens are your neighbors; Brent is the Youth Director at the family’s church and a GED instructor with Goodwill Industries; Sarah is a special education teacher at a local elementary school. They have three beautiful children: Kolben, Sophie, and new baby Lia.

A Mother’s Intuition

It was a Sunday; Lia’s behavior had been unusual all morning. “She wasn’t eating, which wasn’t typical of her.” After church, Sarah decided to take Lia to urgent care. Once there, the nurses noticed that they could not manually take her pulse—it was too fast. Using the pulse oximeter, Lia’s heart rate was measured at an astounding 286 beats per minute. Her heart was racing at more than twice the pace of an infant her age. The emergency department tried their best to stabilize Lia’s heart, to no avail. Lia was then transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit to be monitored. Over the next 12 hours Lia’s team did what they could to get her heart rate down. At 3:00 am, on March 12th, Lia went into cardiac arrest. Chest compressions were administered to keep her alive. At the same time, a massive team of doctors, nurses, and specialists went to work hooking Lia up to a life support machine to allow her heart time to heal. It was a success! After seventeen days, open heart surgery, round-the-clock care and endless prayer Lia was finally able to go home.

Coming Home

Lia’s condition has impacted her entire family and her community. Brent and Sarah were with Lia through everything; day and night. This meant at times they had to be away from their other two children, Kolben and Sophie. Sarah extended her maternity leave to care for Lia for the month after her open-heart surgery. Sarah and Brent were able to look to their church family for support as well as their immediate family who traveled to be with them. Everyone rallied around the family to fill the gaps whenever needed. People in their church as well as the community also started a prayer chain that spread far and wide. People who had never even met Lia were sending love and prayers her way!

A Happy Ending

Today, Lia’s family and her team of medical professionals work together to maintain her health. The Janzens live by Lia’s medication schedule, and Lia visits her cardiologist every month to make sure her heart is working the way that it should. Lia also receives physical therapy—medically based and PT through the local school district to address strength and muscle tone. At just eight months old, Lia’s condition has cost thousands of dollars, and continues to. The cardiologist appointments, alone, are very costly. Now that Lia is recovering and growing stronger the family needs help recovering financially.

Will you join Team Lia?

Photos and Videos:
  • Lia at her brother's basketball game

Updates:View all »

Activity:View All »
  • Red Basket made a donation

    March 17, 2014
  • Eric made a donation

    February 19, 2013
  • Paul Schulz & Katie Fitzpatrick made a donation

    February 19, 2013
  • Emily R made a donation

    February 19, 2013
  • K Schliesman made a donation

    February 19, 2013

Sign in to ask a question »
  • Ravan C asked:

    Q: Hello Janzens! How are things going today? How are Lia, Kolben, and Sophie?

    A: We're doing great! We've managed to stay healthy which is a blessing! Check out our update page for more info. Sarah

    - Sarah Janzen November 28, 2012

  • Ravan C asked:

    Q: Go Team Lia! How is Lia doing today?

    A: Thanks Ravan, we are actually at the cardiologist right now. Lia just got a 16 lead EKG. We're waiting to see Dr. Erickson. We'll update again soon! Sarah

    - Colleen Maciejewski October 24, 2012

Sign in to give encouragement »
  • Red Basket

    2012 Woodmen Match Dollars see Gift Card L4DM1UTU

    -Red Basket March 17, 2014

  • Kalynn Schulz

    Go Lia!

    -Kalynn Schulz February 19, 2013

    • Sarah Janzen

      Thanks Kalynn!

      -Sarah Janzen February 19, 2013

  • Anonymous

    Lia, you share your birthday with my brother! Although I don't know you (or your family), that connection motivated me to donate.

    -Anonymous February 14, 2013

    • Sarah Janzen

      Thank you so much for your donation! February 12 is a great birthday to have. We appreciate you thinking of Lia! Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen February 14, 2013

  • Kellie Potter

    I'm so happy Lia is doing so good! She is so Precious

    -Kellie Potter February 14, 2013

    • Sarah Janzen

      Thanks Kellie! Lia is doing very well. We hope your neck gets to feeling better! Love- Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen February 14, 2013

  • Sarah Kilian

    Happy Valentines Day Janzen Family- Get big Lia! :)

    -Sarah Kilian February 14, 2013

    • Sarah Janzen

      Thank you! Happy Valentine's Day! Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen February 14, 2013

  • Adam Reynolds

    Happy Valentines Day!

    -Adam Reynolds February 14, 2013

    • Sarah Janzen

      Thank you! Happy Valentine's Day to you too! Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen February 14, 2013

  • Velma Janzen

    Happy Birthday Lia!!

    -Velma Janzen February 12, 2013

    • Sarah Janzen

      Thank you Velma! Thank you for coming to Lia's party on Sunday and for your donation! Love- Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen February 13, 2013

  • Emily Lustgraaf

    Sending well wishes to Lia and your family! My younger brother was also born with a serious heart condition. Doctors were unsure, but he's beating the odds. He turned 26 this year and is doing great! He sees Dr. Erickson as well, so I know Lia is receiving great medical care. I know Lia will thrive with such a loving family. Hope and prayers heading your way!

    -Emily Lustgraaf December 27, 2012

    • Sarah Janzen

      Emily- Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement as well as your donation! It is good to hear a success story like your brother's! We have had good luck with Dr. Erickson so far. Thank you again for your kind words, prayers and your generous donation for Lia! With love- Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen December 27, 2012

  • James W. Bosler, III, M.D.

    Good Luck for the Future and Merry Christmas on behalf of the Woodmen Board of Directors!

    -James W. Bosler, III, M.D. December 11, 2012

    • Sarah Janzen

      Dr. Bosler, Thank you so much for your generous donation and well wishes! We really appreciate your support! Merry Christmas- Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen December 11, 2012

  • Lia Janzen

    Thank you all for your generous donations for Lia! Please, spread Lia's story to friends, family, who ever. She is such a precious and special little girl!

    -Lia Janzen November 27, 2012

  • Renee

    We hope Lia is still doing well. We'll continue to keep her in our thoughts and prayers. Josh, Renee, James, and Paul King

    -Renee November 14, 2012

    • Sarah Janzen

      King Family- Thank you so much for your generous donation to Lia and your continued prayers! She is doing very well! Love- Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen November 14, 2012

  • Alissa Howard

    It's such a joy to see Lia's smiling face everyday!!!

    -Alissa Howard October 30, 2012

    • Sarah Janzen

      Alissa- Thank you so much for your kind words and your generous donation! Lia has a huge goofy smile for everyone she meets. You family has helped us through this process more than you'll ever know! Thank you so much! With Love- Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen October 30, 2012

  • Mark Dahlheim

    Hang in there, one day at a time.....

    -Mark Dahlheim October 26, 2012

    • Sarah Janzen

      Mr. Dahlheim- Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and your donation to Lia! You are absolutely right, one day at a time! Thank you for reminding me of that- I often get caught up anticipating the future too much. One day at a time, that's all we can do! Thanks so much! Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen October 26, 2012

  • Brandon and Kristin Phelps

    Lots of prayers and continued improvement for Lia. We're so happy that she's come such a long ways in her short life. May God continue to bless her and your family. Love you all.

    -Brandon and Kristin Phelps October 24, 2012

    • Sarah Janzen

      Brandon and Kristin- Thank you so much for your generous donation! We appreciate all your prayers for Lia. You're right, she's been through more than any 8 month old should have had to. Thankfully, we can say she's doing great! Love to you both- Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen October 24, 2012

  • Trisha Johnson

    You have such a beautiful family, so happy to hear little Lia is doing well. Continuing to send prayers your way! Trisha (Randolph) Johnson

    -Trisha Johnson October 23, 2012

    • Sarah Janzen

      Trish- Thank you so much for your generous donation! We appreciate all the prayers and good thoughts for Lia! We are happy to report that she is doing very well considering the scare in March! With Love- Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen October 23, 2012

  • TheMonterosso's

    We are so glad to hear that Lia is doing so much better. We continue to pray for her continued good health and keep your family in our thoughts. ~Mandi, Mark & Dominic Monterosso

    -TheMonterosso's October 23, 2012

    • Sarah Janzen

      Monterosso Family- Thank you so much for your generous donation to Lia! You're support is so very much appreciated! We also thank you for the continued positive thoughts for Lia and our family! With Love- Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen October 23, 2012

  • Sharon Decker

    You guys are amazing! I'm here for you with anything you need. Love ya, Sharon

    -Sharon Decker October 22, 2012

    • Sarah Janzen

      Sharon- Thank you so much for your generous donation, prayers and friendship! It truly means the world to us. I was so touched that you came to the hospital to see Lia and support us during her hospitalization. You are amazing! Love- Sarah

      -Sarah Janzen October 23, 2012


Project Partners:
  • Lesley Knox Photography

Project Closed