Repairing a Heart of Gold

Bolivar girl has rare Ebstein anomaly

Jan 9, 2019

Student-athletes get tired during sports seasons, but volleyball season was alarmingly exhausting for one Bolivar player this year. 

Elliana Partin’s heart has a leaky tricuspid valve and enlarged right atrium called Ebstein anomaly.
Elliana Partin’s heart has a leaky tricuspid valve and enlarged right atrium called Ebstein anomaly.

In October, Elliana Partin, 13, found out she will undergo her first of several necessary heart surgeries on Friday, March 8. 

The eighth-grade student’s heart has an enlarged right side and leaky valve called Ebstein anomaly, her father, Rob Partin, said. 

Although born with a heart murmur, doctors thought it went away until it was found again when Elliana was 6, Partin said. She’s had a cardiologist checkup every six months since. 

“In October, everything changed,” Partin said, adding that during volleyball season his daughter was weak, exhausted and did not act like herself. 

Fourth-grade teacher Samantha Johnson organized a Go Fund Me page on Dec. 7, according to the website. As of press time Tuesday, over $8,000 has been raised to help pay for Elliana’s upcoming surgery. 

The family needs to pay $135,000 on surgery day at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Partin said. 

Elliana Partin, pictured at left with arms extended, has played volleyball for several years and softball since she was a young child. Bolivar players pictured near the net are, from left, Partin, Cora Roweton and Heidi Williams.


“I tell every one of my students that they will forever be one of my ‘kids.’ I will be there to cheer them on when they succeed, and I will be there in a time of need,” Johnson said in an email. “She is one of my kids, and all I wanted to do was help.”

The Partins help others without asking for anything in return, Johnson said.  She knew this was her chance to help them, as well. 

Elliana will stay at the hospital for 10 to 14 days after the surgery, which affects the total cost, Partin said. She’ll need six weeks of rest after coming home, too. 

“There is no cure,” Partin said, adding more surgeries will be required every 10 or 15 years.

Partin described his only daughter as sweet, genuine, God-fearing and smart. Small children love her, he added.

“She’s a good kid with a lot of plans,” Partin said. “She wants to be a special education teacher and play college volleyball. She has a heart for kids with Down syndrome … She has a heart of gold.” 

In the meantime, the respectful, kind, driven student just wants to heal in time to play volleyball her freshman year of high school, Johnson explained. 

Repairing a Heart of Gold

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