Jhon is the youngest of four children of Celestino, a mini-bus driver, and Aida, who runs a breakfast stand in a local market. Jhon was born with grave health problems that kept him many weeks in the neonatal care unit of the Santa Cruz Children’s Hospital. He was diagnosed with two holes in his heart: one between the upper heart chambers (atrial septal defect or ASD) and another between the lower chambers (ventricular septal defect or VSD).

The pressure of having a sick newborn strained the couple’s relationship, and they separated. Celestino took the three oldest children, leaving Aida to care for Jhon on her own. In addition to paying rent on a room in a crowded communal living complex, Aida covers the high costs of medications and treatments to manage Jhon’s condition. The surgical campaign organized by Solidarity Bridge and Puente de Solidaridad in September 2019 provided a partial answer to Aida’s prayers. Surgeons from Texas Children’s Hospital were able to patch the hole between Jhon’s upper heart chambers. He recovered well from that surgery. His mom and doctors continue to monitor him closely while considering options to complete his heart repair.

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