London Eisenbeis had waited what surely felt like a lifetime to be big enough to enjoy a ride only accessible to the big kids.
Finally, at 10 years old, she was tall enough to shoot down the 273 feet chute of the largest water slide at Zehnder's Splash Village in Frankenmuth, Michigan, in February.
“London looked at her dad, gave two thumbs-up and smiled,” her mother, Tina Eisenbeis, told the Sun. “[She] went down the slide and came out in cardiac arrest. The excitement threw her rhythm.”
Unbeknownst to her or her family, London suffered from Long QT syndrome, a rare and potentially fatal condition that can cause fast and chaotic heartbeats.
By the time London reached the bottom of the four-story drop, her heart had stopped beating.
“The slide she went down has a heartbeat sound at the top that my husband said made it even scarier,” Tina, 44, said. “Who would have ever thought she would come out the bottom without one?"
London was rushed to a local hospital. She remained on life support for nine days before going into cardiac arrest again on Feb. 27.
“She fought for nine days in hospital … then she gained her angel wings,” Tina said.
London was laid to rest March 3 in the dress she picked out for a daddy-daughter dance.
The event, which she had so looked forward to, was held on what would instead be remembered by her family as the day of her funeral.
Her parents have since founded the nonprofit London Strong Foundation. The organization is in part dedicated to providing the community with defibrillators, devices that can deliver an electric shock to help establish a heart rhythm.
Attempts to save London’s life did not include the use of a defibrillator, her family said.
“You have to respond, you don't have time to wait,” Tina said.
London’s untimely death has left her family unmoored, but as they grieve, they want to share her story in the hopes it will save someone else.
"You never know when it's going to happen,” Tina said. “You never think it's going to happen to you and this is not a club you want to be part of.
"Cherish every moment you have with your family."