Skip to main content

As the sun rose over San Salvador, the halls of Bloom Hospital buzzed with a palpable sense of hope. This week marks an extraordinary chapter in the lives of children with heart disorders, all thanks to the remarkable Electrophysiology team led by Dr. Kevin Shannon from The UCLA Medical Center.

Within just four days and after 19 procedures, 18 children’s lives have been forever changed. Our missionto heal hearts and restore the rhythm of childhood for as many has been a success!

Gift of Life International utilizes the donations we receive to profoundly impact the lives of these children.

None of these children could have been saved without the invaluable assistance of our global network of partners, including Fundación Latidos de Esperanza, Regalo de Vida El Salvador, and The HeartGift Foundation.

Starting bright and early at 7:00 am, the team knew a day of monumental importance awaited them. The goal was clear: heal 6 more hearts today, adding to the triumphs of the past days.

Zenaida Elizabeth: A Dream to Heal Others

Sweet 6-year-old Zenaida Elizabeth was the first case of the day.

Sweet 6-year-old Zenaida Elizabeth was the first case of the day.

Six-year-old Zenaida Elizabeth greeted the day with bravery, her dreams of becoming a doctor shining bright.

Last year, Zenaida was not feeling well and went to the doctor to have a check-up. She was feeling pale, tired and felt like her heart was pounding at times. She was told to come for evaluation during the mission to see if she would benefit from an ablation.

Dr. Shannon and his team did an EP Study this morning and were not able to induce SVT. At the end of the study, they concluded that she did not need an ablation and that her heart is okay.

Zenaida will now be able to stop taking any medications and resume life as it should be for any active six-year-old. Now, she’s set to embark on her adventures, medication-free and full of life.

Angie Isabella: A Heart Ready to Explore

The second case today was 8-year-old Angie Isabella.

The second case today was 8-year-old Angie Isabella.

The second case today was 8-year-old Angie Isabella, who traveled five hours for a chance at a normal childhood.

Her mother took her to a local hospital last year when she was not feeling well. She was pale and nauseous and the doctor thought he detected an arrhythmia.

He referred her to Bloom Hospital who suggested she be evaluated during this week’s Electrophysiology visit.

After conducting the EP Study, the team was not able to induce SVT and concluded that Angie’s heart is fine and does not need to be treated.

She will no longer need medication and can return to school and play. Now, Angie is free to chase her dreams of becoming a veterinarian without the shadow of illness looming over.

Yeimi Sarai: A Long-awaited Procedure

Yeimi Sarai was all set to have her procedure on Monday when she suddenly came down with a high fever. She had a successful ablation today.

Yeimi Sarai was all set to have her procedure on Monday when she suddenly came down with a high fever. She had a successful ablation today.

Yeimi Sarai’s journey to her procedure was fraught with anticipation and a fever that almost delayed her chance at healing.

She has been recovering in the hospital and praying each day that today would be the day she is well enough to have her EP procedure.

Finally, today is the day.

Yeimi and her mom traveled 5 hours to be here this week so they are grateful they didn’t need to return home without being treated.

She has been living with tachycardia for 4 years; never knowing when she will have the next scary episode.

After four years of living with the unpredictability of tachycardia, she had a successful ablation today, which marks the beginning of a new chapter.

She enjoys school and always does her homework.

Her dream is to become a dentist when she grows up.

A Touch of Kindness

Dr. Kevin Shannon and Ivonne Lopez (Fundacion Latidos de Esperanza) tell Yeimi’s mom that the procedure is finished and was a success.

Dr. Kevin Shannon and Ivonne Lopez (Fundacion Latidos de Esperanza) tell Yeimi’s mom that the procedure is finished and was a success.

After having two procedures - one on Monday and another one yesterday - Ariana was finally ready to go home with a healthy heart.

After having two procedures – one on Monday and another one yesterday – Ariana was finally ready to go home with a healthy heart.

Brittany made special cards for everyone who helped heal her heart. She presented this one to Dr. Shannon this morning. A very kind and thoughtful gesture.

Brittany made special cards for everyone who helped heal her heart. She presented this one to Dr. Shannon this morning. A very kind and thoughtful gesture.

Fatima was also grateful to Dr. Shannon and his team for healing her heart and was very happy when she was told she could go home.

Fatima was also grateful to Dr. Shannon and his team for healing her heart and was very happy when she was told she could go home.

Before starting the next three cases, Dr. Shannon went up to check on all the patients who were treated yesterday. Brittany, Monica and Astrid were all given the green light to go home. As you can see, they were all very happy.

Before starting the next three cases, Dr. Shannon went up to check on all the patients who were treated yesterday. Brittany, Monica and Astrid were all given the green light to go home. As you can see, they were all very happy.

Marissa and her family were celebrating her healthy heart along with numerous text messages of love and support from fellow Rotarians at the San Salvador Cuscatlan Rotary Club. Marissa was excited to have her IV removed and go home. She was already planning many adventures with her loving family.

Marissa and her family were celebrating her healthy heart along with numerous text messages of love and support from fellow Rotarians at the San Salvador Cuscatlan Rotary Club. Marissa was excited to have her IV removed and go home. She was already planning many adventures with her loving family.

VIDEO: Marissa Gives Thanks To Everyone Involved in Her Life-Changing Care

VIDEO: Marissa Thanks Her Doctors

Jose Manuel & Ariana Michelle: Dreams Unchained

Jose Manuel is 15 years old and lives with Wolfe Parkison White Syndrome.

Jose Manuel is 15 years old and lives with Wolfe Parkison White Syndrome.

Ariana Michelle has been limited in her ability to do physical activity due to her heart condition known as Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome.

Ariana Michelle has been limited in her ability to do physical activity due to her heart condition known as Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome.

Fifteen-year-old Jose Manuel and Ariana Michelle both faced their conditions with courage, their dreams momentarily caged by the limitations of their heart conditions. Today, they both look forward to a life unencumbered by the fear of tachycardia, ready to embrace their passions fully.

Dayana Hizzol: A New Beginning

Dayana Hizzol was the 6th and final case of the day.

Dayana Hizzol was the 6th and final case of the day.

Dayana Hizzol’s story is a powerful testament to the transformative impact of medical intervention on the lives of young patients and their families. As the final case of an intensely rewarding day at the hospital, Dayana stands out as a shining example of resilience and hope.

Her path to the operating room was fraught with worry and uncertainty, not just for her but for her entire family. Living with a heart condition that restricted her physical activities, Dayana faced daily challenges that most children her age could not even imagine.

Every heartbeat, instead of being a sign of life, became a reminder of her limitations. For Dayana and her family, the prospect of a successful procedure was more than just a medical intervention; it was the key to unlocking a life that many take for granted.

It was about turning the page on a chapter filled with anxiety and opening a new one brimming with possibilities.

The journey of Dayana Hizzol, from a life shadowed by illness to one full of potential and creativity, is a vivid reminder of the mission that drives medical teams around the world: to mend hearts, to unleash the future of our children, and to sow the seeds of hope in families who dare to dream of a better tomorrow.

A Week of Heartfelt Victories

With one more day to go, the team has already healed 18 hearts, a testament to their unwavering commitment and the immense support from the partners, donors, and everyone believing in this heart-healing mission. The ripples of these triumphs extend far beyond the hospital walls, touching lives and nurturing dreams.

In Reflection

As we celebrate each successful procedure and every dream reignited, we’re reminded of the power of compassion, expertise, and collaboration. This visit goes beyond medical treatments; it’s about giving children the freedom to live, to dream, and to be. Each heartbeat restored is a melody of hope, a symphony of life renewed.

Let’s take a moment to honor the dedication of the Electrophysiology team, the resilience of these young warriors, and the community that stands behind them. Together, we’re not just healing hearts; we’re crafting a future where every child has the chance to chase their dreams, heartstrong and fearless.

Here’s to many more visits, to the laughter of children resounding in homes and playgrounds, and to a world where every heart beats strong and free.

Join us in celebrating this journey of love, healing, and hope.

Leave a Reply