St. George, Utah-Tuvalu J.F. Paleafei, 14 months, returned to his heavenly home on the Saturday morning of October 8, 2022. He was born on August 3, 2021, in Salt Lake City to Haisun I'Inei Paleafei & Pettisue Seei.
When Pettisue was four months pregnant, like any other parents, she and her husband Haisun were excited and anxious to find out the gender of their baby. Unbeknownst to them, the news was something they both did not expect. They were excited and blessed to hear they were having another baby boy but sad that they were given a choice to either keep him or terminate the pregnancy. Pettisue & Haisun are Christian parents who value family and God. Termination never crossed their minds. Tuvalu was diagnosed with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome at 16 weeks. They loved him the day they found out that Pettisue was expecting and continued to love him more when Tuvalu was diagnosed with a rare heart disease.
Tuvalu made his entrance on August 3, 2021, on a Wednesday, at 11:19 am weighing 8lbs 2oz. During the first few months of his life, he was cared for by his mommy and his CICU, CCU family at Primary Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT. Nurses would fight over him because he was such a happy and easy baby to care for. Tuvalu survived his first major open heart surgery on August 9, 2021, five days after birth. Five months later, he underwent his second open heart surgery on January 20, 2022. Families and friends called him "CHAMP" for surviving two major heart surgeries. He later had another heart procedure(washout) on March 10, 2022. His family and friends celebrated his 1st birthday in August 2022. On October 7 Friday afternoon, Tuvalu was rushed to the emergency room in St. George by his parents. He was flown to Salt Lake City airport, where an ambulance crew met him. Tuvalu was five minutes away from Primary hospital when he succumbed to a heart attack. He passed shortly after a hard-fought battle with his heart condition with his mom Pettisue by his bedside.
Tuvalu was a happy baby, a fighter, and a miracle baby. He loved his family and was always smiling, even through the pain. He enjoyed snuggling, bouncing on his bouncer and doing TIK TOK videos with his aunties. His favorite show to watch was bubble guppies. He would ignore everyone around him when his favorite Bubble Guppie character, "Nonny," comes on. Aside from giggling at Nonny, Tuvalu loves being around his best friend, his older brother AJ, and his two older sisters, Toelau and Amiah.
Tuvalu is survived by his parents, Haisun & Pettisue Paleafei; big sisters, Amiah & Toelau; only brother AJ; Grandparents, Fati & Gagau Seei; Grandma Lumaava Paleafei. He was loved by many granduncles, uncles, grand aunties, aunts, and cousins.
A special thank you to Tuvalu's Cardiology Surgeon Dr. Husain and his team, Cardiologist Dr. Emilee Glenn and her team, Mama Dee (Nurse) who became his favorite nurse mama, his CICU and CCU family in Primary Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah. Some heroes don't wear capes, they wear stethoscopes. We thank you for being more than just caregivers to Tuvalu...thank you...thank you... thank you!
A memorial service will be held at the Hughes Mortuary, 1037 East 700 S, St. George, Utah, on October 15, 2022, at 9 am. Interment will take place in the Tonaquint Cemetery, St. George, UT