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CHARLESTON -- Lyndsey Grubbs, 5, of Charleston made a big impression on her doctors during her open heart surgery on July 16 and her subsequent recovery.

Her grandmother, Diane Grubbs, said Lyndsey's surgery at OSF Children’s Hospital in Peoria was scheduled to take four to five hours but was completed in two and a half. She said the 5-year-old's hospital recovery time was expected to take three to five days, but she was able to go home in two.

"The doctors call her their 'rock star.' We believe she is a rock star," Grubbs said of Lyndsey, who is the daughter of Jayme and Brianna Grubbs.

To celebrate Lyndsey and to show support for her and her family, a Walmart Heart program truck convoy is scheduled at 9 a.m. Tuesday to drive from the Mattoon store to the Charleston one. Lyndsey will ride in the Walmart Heart truck as an honorary truck driver in this convoy of Walmart trucks, police and fire units, and other vehicles.

Walmart Heart aims to provide seriously ill children and their families with a positive experience to help lift their spirits. The trailer is decorated with pictures of children and others who have been served by this program.

Truck driver Rodney Morgan, a Charleston native, said Lyndsey's convoy began taking shape when he met her and her grandmother on June 29 at the Charleston store. Morgan was there with a Walmart Heart team taking a seriously ill Paris boy on a ride in the Coles County Truck Convoy for Make-A-Wish Illinois that day.

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Morgan, who drives from the Spring Valley Distribution Center, said fellow Walmart trucker Richard Newman will be Lyndsey's driver during the convoy on Tuesday. He said the convoy will start with a celebration at the Mattoon Walmart and end with one at the Charleston store. Morgan said he also will drive in this Walmart Heart convoy, which will be his fifth.

"It's a lot of fun. It's kind of hard to choke back the tears at times, but it's very rewarding to do something like that," Morgan said.

Her grandmother said Lyndsey had a hole, known as an atrial septal defect, that was detected last fall during her fifth-year checkup. Grubbs said the OSF Children’s Hospital doctors used Lyndsey's own tissue to close this hole during the surgery. She said her granddaughter has since recovered and is now running around like any other 5-year-old.

Mattoon Cops for Kids seeking applicants, donations

Grubbs said Lyndsey and her family, which includes her 5-month-old brother, Kaden, appreciates all the support they have received, including Lyndsey getting to ride in the Coles County Truck Convoy. Grubbs thanked the truck drivers and everyone else who has made Tuesday's Walmart Heart convoy possible.

"We feel very grateful that Walmart has done that. Walmart has stepped up and made her life a little bit better for her. She has been through a lot in her short 5 1/2 years," Grubbs said of Lyndsey.

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Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud

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Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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