The life of a one-year-old is full of excitement as babies learn to say their first words and take their first steps. New parents have a front row seat to the action and celebrate every new milestone. Not all children develop at the same rate, however. For children with congenital heart conditions, the milestone chart may look very different.

From birth, Luz suffered setbacks from an Atrial Septal Defect; a defect of the wall separating the right and left atria of the heart. While other toddlers her age were thriving, playing, and exploring, Luz was extremely delicate. She fell frequently, required medical attention due to ongoing infections, and was hospitalized with severe colds and high fevers.

Luz is the only child of a young couple who put everything on hold to find help for her heart condition. Luz's father finds contract work as a carpenter, but the work is not steady. The young family currently occupies one bedroom in their grandmother's house. During a home visit with Puente de Solidaridad social workers, they said, "We are not married yet. We do not have money for the expenses of a marriage. First this is the health of our daughter. We are worried about how sick she is. We do not have money to pay the cost of the surgery. We ask you to please help us, we want to see Luz better."

On March 9th, Luz's parents accompanied their tiny daughter to the Belga Hospital in Cochabamba for open heart surgery. Puente de Solidaridad partner surgeons, Drs. EchazĂș and Navarro expertly closed the hole in Luz's heart wall and went to share the good news with her parents. Thanks to the support of Dharma Social Programs, Luz has been given a second chance to thrive, and her parents will gratefully celebrate every new milestone along the way.

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