CANDOR, N.Y. (WETM) — 5-year-old Kendyl White is fighting for her life after being born with a rare birth defect and having complications after surgery.

The Candor girl was born with a double inlet left ventricle. It is a very rare congenital defect in which the left and right atria of the heart are connected to the same ventricle. This condition affects a child’s blood circulation and often requires multiple surgeries to make their heart work effectively.

Kendyl’s parents, Brittany and Nick White, knew it would be a struggle from the start.

“It is something we found out when [Brittany] was 38 weeks pregnant with Kendyl,” said Nick White. “We expected her to have open heart surgery when she was born. But, she did well and started breathing on her own when she was born. So, [the doctors] kind of let it go. We made it to this point where they decided it was finally time to go in there and do something.”

However, the surgery did not go as smoothly as expected. After the procedure, Kendyl had multiple seizures and two strokes causing significant brain damage.

“They drained the fluid out of her brain,” said Brittany White. “They put her in a coma.”

“She has woken up since then, but she still has a breathing tube in,” said Nick White. “[She] is not talking and has minimal movement on her own. It is going to be a long road to recovery for her.”

Kendyl now faces 6 months to one year of rehab. However, the community has rallied behind her.

The “Kendyl the Warrior” Facebook page has nearly 3,000 followers. The GoFundMe, started by Nick’s brother, has raised nearly $28,000 as of May 11th, 2022. That money will go towards Kendyl’s medical expenses and fuel costs for traveling to hospitals.

“[People] realize how insignificant their own problems are when they see what she is going through,” said Nick. “Everybody has rallied behind us. It is really surprising.”

What is not surprising? Kendyl’s strength and perseverance.

“If you do not show that strength yourself, it is hard for them to be strong or handle a situation,” said Nick. “They come to you for their problems. It is just the job you have to do. It is a part of being a parent.”

A chicken barbeque benefit for Kendyl will be taking place on May 22. It will be at the American Legion Pavilion on 90 Spencer Road in Candor, New York. A “Ride for Kendyl” will also take place on the same day.

To follow the “Kendyl the Warrior” Facebook page, click here.

To donate to Kendyl’s GoFundMe, click here.