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Back again in Hospital del Niño for our last day in the hospital! Let’s give it up for our amazing Gift of Life training team who have worked long days and nights with impeccable attitudes every time. Hats off to the wonderful team of Bolivian healthcare professionals at Hospital del Nino who have been very welcoming, attentive, receptive to the daily skills transfer and clearly dedicated to the beautiful children they serve each and every day.

All of this would not have been possible without our amazing training team, the dedication of the Bolivian team, as well as the support we receive from our donors. The donations we receive bring about life changing impacts, allowing us to heal as many little hearts as possible!

Some of the amazing team members gathered on the last day in Bolivia to celebrate the healing of 10 little hearts!

Some of the amazing team members gathered on the last day in Bolivia to celebrate the healing of 10 little hearts!

Everyone who comes together to make this program possible is extraordinary! The impact of Gift of Life International, its global network, including Gift of Life Rotary District 7490 and Corazones Chiquitos Bolivia, as well as its many partners such as Hospital del Nino creates long lasting, life changing results. Thanks to this week’s collaborative effort, 10 beautiful Bolivian children have a chance at a normal, healthy life and being happy kids again.

Beimar

Beimar

This is Beimar! Beimar is twelve years old and is from Tarija, Bolivia. To travel from Tarija to La Paz takes sixteen to eighteen hours by bus, which is exactly what Beimar and his aunt did. Beimar has the sweetest demeanor and was so polite when we were chatting with him! He told us he is in middle school, this is his first time visiting La Paz, and he loves to play soccer! He also loves to paint, and told us the nurses here were working on getting him some supplies to practice his art while he recovers in the hospital! Beimar lives with his aunt, Sandra. He has two siblings, one sister and one brother, both older than him by only a couple years. Beimar said they are close and he loves to hang out with them, but they live in Villa Montes which is a five hour car ride away, so when they get to visit him it’s even more special. Beimar had successful ventricular septal defect (VSD) surgery today!

Andres

Andres

This little cutie is named Andres. He was born on September 3rd, 2020 and has two older sisters, ages seven and ten. Andres’ parents are named Vilma and Max. Vilma is a housewife and Max is an accountant. Vilma and Max did not know that Andres had a congenital heart defect until he was two months old when a doctor at a check-up informed them that he had a heart murmur. Vilma was told initially that his atrial septal defect would close on its own. Later, Andres got admitted for acute gastroenteritis (or the stomach flu) and they did an x-ray, then noticed that the right side of his heart was bigger than the left side of his heart. Vilma and Max then went to a different cardiologist than the first, and finally figured out the extent of Andres’ condition and that he needed surgery. This cardiologist told Vilma and Max about Hospital del Niño and the Gift of Life International program. Andres

Andres is a super extroverted kid who loves to talk to people of all ages. He is surely not shy! Andres’ favorite thing to do is play with his two older sisters, he loves Lightning McQueen (kachow!), and loves name-calling! Andres was our tenth and final case this week here in Bolivia, and is currently recovering in the ICU.

Eileen Wilbert stands with some of the volunteers that helped to create the quilts for our team and the children operated this week!

Eileen Wilbert stands with some of the volunteers that helped to create the quilts for our team and the children operated this week!

Our program would not have the capacity to carry out these missions without the help of our volunteers and donors! One special donor put together a team of sewing extraordinaires to help create homemade quilts for our children who receive surgeries!

Eileen Wilbert, mother to one of our very own ICU nurses, Kendall Hitt, traveled with Kendell in 2018 to Romania on a training visit with Gift of Life. After her experience with GOLI, Eileen decided she wanted to get more involved. Eileen became an avid donor financially and has helped with fundraising as well. This past year she retired and has a big group of friends who love to sew!

A volunteer stands proudly with her quilt.

A volunteer stands proudly with her quilt.

One day, Eileen overheard GOLI CEO, Rob Raylman, discussing how he would love to have blankets made for the children we help.

Valery rests in the ICU with her quilt.

Valery rests in the ICU with her quilt.

When Eileen heard this she immediately volunteered to help!

Though, creating ten handmade quilts is a lot of work for the hands of just one woman. Luckily, Eileen had an idea! She recruited friends, sixteen people from the ages of ten years old to seventy-five years old, and rented out an old elementary school building that was now used as a retreat center for one weekend. That weekend the group gathered each day and built the quilts for this trip to Bolivia!

Beimar and Shany recover in the ICU with their quilts.

Beimar and Shany recover in the ICU with their quilts.

The logos used on the blankets were even donated by a friend of Eileen’s who wanted to help make the quilts, but would not be able to make it that weekend!

Eyphril in the ICU with her quilt.

Eyphril in the ICU with her quilt.

Valentino loved his zoo blanket!

Valentino loved his zoo blanket!

Also, a few of the women who helped build the quilts are either currently nurses or retired from the field! The quilts made for each child seemed to match their personalities perfectly and could not be cuter for these little babies!

As the week comes to an end, many of the children are well on their way to a full, healthy recovery! Cristina, Valentino, Ezequiel, and Fanny are all slowly getting back into the swing of things like eating, playing, walking around, and being silly! Our nurses build loving relationships with the children that they take care of everyday. They also build strong relationships between themselves.

Jordyn Cameron comforts Cristina on her first day out of surgery.

Jordyn Cameron comforts Cristina on her first day out of surgery.

Here are some sweet highlights of the love that is spread during these missions.

Laura Snyder brings Cristina yogurt in the morning after she is well on the way to recovery!

Laura Snyder brings Cristina yogurt in the morning after she is well on the way to recovery!

Gift of Life International visits are eye-opening, heart-warming experiences for everyone involved. Watching the children go from ill and upset, to healing, to happy and healthy is such a humbling experience for those who get to follow along. Each child’s journey is different and some are longer than others, but the positive end result is worth the struggle. On this last day, we are so grateful and appreciative to every nurse, surgeon, physician, donor, volunteer, etc. for making these kinds of visits possible. The gratitude that radiates from everyone involved is palpable, and Gift of Life International can not wait to see where this program goes in the future!

Cristina’s mother smiles widely at her, happy that she is feeling like herself again.

Cristina’s mother smiles widely at her, happy that she is feeling like herself again.

Thank you for following this week’s journey of healing little Bolivian hearts.

Fanny goes for a walk this morning with her mom around the hospital.

Fanny goes for a walk this morning with her mom around the hospital.

Fanny patiently waits to be wheeled upstairs to the general ward.

Fanny patiently waits to be wheeled upstairs to the general ward.

Valentino eats yogurt and blows kisses to Kendall Hitt in the general ward.

Valentino eats yogurt and blows kisses to Kendall Hitt in the general ward.

Valentino gives Laura Snyder a hug.

Valentino gives Laura Snyder a hug.

Ezequiel watches as Laura checks on his little heart.

Ezequiel watches as Laura checks on his little heart.

Eyphril feeling much better in the general ward this morning!

Eyphril feeling much better in the general ward this morning!

Carlos takes a walk around the ICU with his mom and Kendall Hitt, being awarded with applause along the way!

Carlos takes a walk around the ICU with his mom and Kendall Hitt, being awarded with applause along the way!

Some of the amazing heart healing team members this week! (not pictured from our volunteers is Jordyn Cameron, James Horstmann, and Delshay Honyoust)

Some of the amazing heart healing team members this week!
(not pictured from our volunteers is Jordyn Cameron, James Horstmann, and Delshay Honyoust)

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