Last January, one of our Godchildren, Cindy Leon, reached out to us to see if we could help with a five month old baby boy she had met at church. Matias is from San Pedro Sula, Honduras and was born with a significant heart defect. And so my search began. I contacted every resource I could think of in Honduras and proceeded to investigate every international organization involved with pediatric cardiac teams. Unfortunately, Matias’ case was intricately involved and the doctors didn’t believe it could be safely done in Honduras. Covid was still present so many teams were not traveling to Honduras, and many hospitals in the U.S. were not accepting international patients. Matias’ health continued to deteriorate and he was too sick to travel anywhere outside of the country.
Thankfully, our connections began to fall into place, and we were introduced to wonderful new people. The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation has coordinated the care and provided the funding for three of Esperanza’s cardiac patients over the past 16 years. I contacted Terri Carlson at R.T.M.A.F. and she put me in touch with Kate Corbett from the World Pediatric Project. We shared stories about our common involvement with Hospital Maria in Tegucigalpa and the Ruth Paz Foundation in San Pedro Sula. Soon I was working with Natalia Rosales, Central America Program Director for W.P.P., and she became an integral person for “Team Matias” keeping in constant contact while we pursued possibilities.
Matias and his parents met with Victor Paz M.D., a cardiovascular surgeon at Hospital Maria. Dr. Paz has received extensive training in the U.S., and was highly recommended by W.P.P. and our colleague/friend, Enrique Tome M.D., former Chief of Hospital Maria. Dr. Tome told us he was the only surgeon in Honduras who had the skills and experience to operate on Matias, and surgery was scheduled for April. It certainly was a stressful time for all involved during and post surgery, and we’re thrilled to report everything went well. Matias’ parents, Alver and Kenia, have offered such gratitude for each and every person involved, and sadly know many children don’t have the same opportunity due to finances or access to medical care.
In June, Matias and his parents traveled from San Pedro Sula to our home in Flores, Comayagua so that we had the opportunity to meet in person. It was pure joy.
Thank you to all the supporters of Esperanza in helping to save a life, one child at a time.