For the women’s crew team at College of the Holy Cross and rowers everywhere, all eyes are on the Head of the Charles Regatta. It’s a long journey for every rower participating in the sport’s ultimate competition. But few have come so far as Caroline Laurendeau, the 4’11” coxswain for the Holy Cross Crusaders women’s rowing team.
Caroline, who was born weighing just 1 lb. 11 oz., spent the first four-and-a-half months of her life in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) at Boston Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Those first few months were hectic and scary for Caroline’s family. At one point, she suffered a pericardial effusion — fluid had accumulated around her heart. “The mortality rate from that can be really high,” explains Dr. Jane Stewart, director of the Boston Children’s Infant Follow-up Program. Physicians at Boston Children’s tapped the effusion to release the fluid and save her life.