Thriving at Altitude: Luna Sims

Luna Sims

Editor’s note: As part of our Longevity Project: Thriving at Altitude series we celebrate local residents who are making the most of living in Steamboat and Routt County.

Age: 2

Give 3 examples of how this person is thriving at altitude.
Luna was born with a very rare heart condition called ALCAPA. One in 300,000 children are born with this, and it doesn’t present at birth, so we had no idea she had it. She had a heart attack and was in full heart failure and had open heart surgery on Oct. 31, 2017. Her surgeons and doctors told us there was a good chance she couldn’t thrive at altitude, that she wouldn’t ever ski in her lifetime and that we needed to be very close to a children’s hospital at all times. Now, almost two years later, she is thriving and her heart works just like any 2-year-old. She can run, swim and play plus we even got her on skis last year, and she skied on her dad’s back plenty of times.

How does this person inspire you?
Luna is inspiring because she brings hope to the world of children with birth defects. One in 100 children are born with a congenital heart defect. It’s one of the most common birth defects out there, and lots of those kids can’t live at altitude because of the thin air. One of the reasons Luna thrives at this altitude is because she was born here and has acclimated. To show that children living with heart disease can not only live wherever they’d like, but to also take part in all of the normal children’s activities is inspiring.

What life lessons can community members learn from this individual?
The big life lesson that Luna can give the community is that you can’t let a diagnosis weigh you down. She has no idea of the challenges she faced and will face in the future, but she lives live to the fullest every day.  This community has lifted her, and us, up so many times, and we are grateful for that every day.

To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email or follow her on Twitter @lschlichtman.

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