Dilan G.

During a check-up a few months after Dilan was born in May 2018, a pediatrician noted worrisome symptoms that his heart and lungs were not functioning as they should. In addition to his failure to gain weight and reach other early milestones, Dilan’s young mother, Gladis, reported that Dilan struggled to nurse and appeared breathless and turned blue when he cried, which was often. The doctor referred Dilan for evaluation at the private Belga Heart Clinic in Cochabamba, where Dr. Gabriel Echazú diagnosed a very large opening in the wall between the baby’s heart chambers, producing severely irregular blood flow and heartbeat. Dilan’s life was in imminent danger, and doctors recommended he undergo urgent open heart surgery to patch the opening and repair the accompanying cardiopulmonary defects. Dilan’s father, 19-year-old Iver, earned barely enough to cover the family’s most basic expenses on his roughly $240-dollar monthly income stuffing and assembling mattresses. Even with the combined resources of the extended family, Gladis and Iver could not come up with enough to cover the cost of such a specialized surgery.

Thanks to the Solidarity Bridge Heart Surgery program, and specifically through the support of the Goff Family Fund, Dilan underwent surgery on September 27, 2018. A second surgery was needed overnight to control bleeding in the surgical site, and Dilan spent an additional two weeks in the hospital’s pediatric heart wing while he gradually recovered and gained strength. Dilan is now home with his parents.

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