Girl who collapsed on slide had heart tumor

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 13 2015 8:52 p.m. MDT

A tumor was discovered on 3-year-old KayLee Cox's heart after she collapsed playing on a backyard play set May 2, 2013. (Casey Walker) A tumor was discovered on 3-year-old KayLee Cox's heart after she collapsed playing on a backyard play set May 2, 2013. (Casey Walker)

WEST VALLEY CITY — A little girl who was hospitalized when she fell off a play set in her backyard last week remains in serious condition after a tumor was discovered on her heart.

Initial reports indicated 3-year-old KayLee Cox had been seriously injured when she fell off a small slide at her West Valley home.

KayLee was taken by medical helicopter to Primary Children's Medical Center, where an echocardiogram revealed a tumor on her left ventricle. It was determined the toddler had actually suffered a heart attack while playing.

Dixie Clark and Casey Walker have known the Cox family since KayLee was 4 months old.

"Our daughters are best friends," Walker said.

The two families had planned to spend time together on May 2, the day KayLee was hospitalized, but instead Clark and Walker rushed to support their friends at KayLee's bedside.

For several days, there were more questions than answers about KayLee's condition.

"At first, they believed she had fallen off the slide because she was playing with the dog," Clark said. "What really happened is she went into cardiac arrest, and that's what caused the fall."

KayLee's mother is credited for saving her daughter's life, rushing to her side when she saw her collapse and immediately beginning CPR, Clark said.

The tumor may have been present "like a ticking time bomb" since KayLee was born, Walker said.

For now, the family is focused on their daughter, who was upgraded from critical condition Thursday but remains unconscious.

"She's making baby steps in the right direction," Clark said. "There's little things here and there. She's trying to show us that she's in there, and she's a fighter and not going to give up. That's very KayLee."

KayLee is a happy, energetic girl, Walker said. At first, he couldn't understand how the young, healthy child who recently accompanied his daughter to an indoor amusement park could suddenly be battling a tumor.

"She plays hard here, jumps up and down, and hits the ground hard," he said. "We would have thought something would have come up."

An outpouring of support for the Cox family has emerged on a Facebook page set up by friends after the accident, asking for Prayers for KayLee. An account has also been opened at America First Credit Union in KayLee's name to help with rapidly mounting medical costs.

"With all the medical costs and them having to miss work, the finances are probably going to be a struggle for them," Walker said.

For those unable to help financially, prayers are requested for the little girl Walker described as "able to bring people together in big ways."

"Who knew it was going to be something this big?" he said. "It's unfortunate this is happening."

Contributing: Jennifer Stagg

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