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At the break of dawn, the corridors of Bloom Hospital buzzed with a special kind of anticipation.

The team, led by Dr. Kevin Shannon from UCLA Medical Center, was poised for a day dedicated to healing little hearts, a mission both challenging and profoundly rewarding. Each child they met carried not just a heart condition but dreams and aspirations waiting to be freed from the shackles of illness.

Gift of Life International is using the donations we receive to change the lives of these children. We could not have saved any of these children without the help of our global network of partners, including Fundacion Latidos de Esperanza, Regalo de Vida El Salvador, and HeartGift.

Ariana’s Song of Hope

7 year old Ariana Nicole is ready to start her new life with her new heart.

7 year old Ariana Nicole is ready to be healed!

Ariana Nicole, a vibrant seven-year-old with a passion for singing and dancing, was the day’s first beacon of hope. She was admitted to Bloom Hospital last night and had an episode of tachycardia overnight.

The doctors had to give her medicine to stop the episode. She was very happy to be having her EP procedure today so she no longer has to worry about the racing and irregular heartbeats which are very scary.

The procedure took longer than planned but in the end was successful. Ariana loves to sing and dance and is always cheerful. Tomorrow she will be able to return home to her family, and later this week, she will return to school with a healthy heart.

 

 

Daniela’s Dream Unveiled

14 year old Daniela Alexandra is all smiles as she prepares for her life changing surgery.

14-year-old Daniela Alexandra is all smiles as she prepares for her life changing surgery.

Next was Daniela Alexandra, a fourteen-year-old with dreams as vast as the sky. Daniela has big dreams which she thought might never be possible since she lives with a heart condition known as Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome or WPW.

Her dream is to become an Industrial Engineer and an Economist. She also loves to cook, socialize, swim, and dance.
She is excited to have her Electrophysiology procedure today so that she will feel better, and be less afraid of her heart racing, allowing her to focus on working towards her dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

The Heart of Collaboration

Dr. Kevin Shannon (Electrophysiologist) and Dr. Jessica Mercedes (Salvadoran Cardiologist) looking over patient records.

Dr. Kevin Shannon (Electrophysiologist) and Dr. Jessica Mercedes (Salvadoran Cardiologist) looking over patient records.

In the moments between healing, Dr. Shannon and Dr. Jessica Mercedes, a dedicated Salvadoran Cardiologist, evaluated more young patients. Among them was twenty-year-old Joselyn Hidalgo, her treatment slated for tomorrow. These evaluations are more than medical assessments; they are exchanges of hope and affirmations of life’s potential beyond illness.

Genesis’s Journey of Courage

Genesis Fabiola is 11 years old and travelled 5 hours to have her heart healed here this week.

Genesis Fabiola is 11 years old and travelled 5 hours to have her heart healed here this week.

For Genesis Fabiola, an eleven-year-old who journeyed five hours for a chance at a normal life, her heart’s erratic beat was a constant source of fear.

The past two years have been scary for her because she worries every time her heart races, it will stop beating. She takes medication to help control the episodes. Between the cost of the medication and the cost of transportation to get her to the hospital and doctor appointments, it has put a strain on her family who struggles to provide her basic needs.

Her mother stopped working the past two years because she is afraid of something happening to Genesis. Her father is a mechanic but barely earns enough to provide for his family. They are excited to have her heart healed so that they no longer need to worry and can all enjoy a happier, worry-free life.

 

 

 

Mercy’s Path to Fearlessness

Mercy is 13 years old and travelled all the way from Honduras to El Salvador to have her heart healed.

Mercy is 13 years old and travelled all the way from Honduras to El Salvador to have her heart healed.

Mercy was the fourth patient treated today. She is 13 years old and traveled all the way from Honduras to El Salvador to have her heart healed.

Mercy has been living in fear for most of her life. She had her first episode of tachycardia at just 2 1/2 years old. Her parents took her to the hospital and she continued to have tachycardia for the entire night. She has been on medication ever since to manage the episodes.

Living with SVT or Supra Ventricular Tachycardia has taken a toll on her emotionally and has also taken a toll on her family financially. They are all looking forward to seeing Mercy healthy and living a life without constant fear. Her dream is to become a veterinarian when she grows up.

 

 

 

 

A Day’s Close, A Future Opens

EP Technician, Rich Nagel, works with Dr. Shannon in the cath lab. His job is to map where the catheters have been and help to locate the area which needs the ablation.

EP Technician, Rich Nagel, works with Dr. Shannon in the cath lab. His job is to map where the catheters have been and help to locate the area which needs the ablation.

Dr. Kevin Shannon and his team worked tirelessly all day to heal these four precious hearts. Pictured here is Dr. Shannon in the Cath Lab using highly specialized equipment to find the bad connection in the heart, causing irregular heartbeats. Once he locates it, he will ablate the area and the child will no longer suffer from WPW or SVT.

Dr. Kevin Shannon and his team worked tirelessly all day to heal these four precious hearts. Pictured here is Dr. Shannon in the Cath Lab using highly specialized equipment to find the bad connection in the heart, causing irregular heartbeats. Once he locates it, he will ablate the area and the child will no longer suffer from WPW or SVT.

Four Hearts Healed Today

Electrophysiologists Dr. Claire Newlon and Dr. Kevin Shannon work with EP Technician Rich Nagel to heal hearts in the cath lab.

Electrophysiologists Dr. Claire Newlon and Dr. Kevin Shannon work with EP Technician Rich Nagel to heal hearts in the cath lab.

The stories of Ariana, Daniela, Genesis, and Mercy are narratives of resilience, hope, and the indomitable human spirit.

They remind us of the incredible impact of specialized medical intervention and the global collaboration that makes it possible.

As these young hearts heal, their dreams take flight, nurtured by the dedicated efforts of individuals who believe in a future where every child has the chance to live fully, love deeply, and pursue their dreams unencumbered by illness.

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