Like most girls her age, Melody enjoys playing with kids in her Cochabamba neighborhood and spending time with her two older sisters. She worries about homework and about being picked last in gym class. Her ability to keep up with the other kids has been affected more and more lately by a heart defect that has been with her since birth.

Melody suffers from a congenital heart problem called VSD, which refers to a hole in the wall dividing the two pumping chambers of the heart. Melody’s parents became concerned when they noticed Melody was experiencing greater discomfort, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, continual colds, and high fevers. They took her for a consultation at the Belga Hospital in Cochabamba. Doctors identified her need for surgery to close the defect, but saw that Melody’s parents could not afford the cost of the surgery. The case was referred to Puente de Solidaridad, who sent social workers to visit the family and assess their level of need.

Melody’s mother said, “Only my husband works. What he earns is used for daily expenses. My older daughters live with us and depend on us. We have to help them to finish their studies. We worry about Melody’s operation. We want her to be healthy and have a good future. This is the reason why we are looking for help. Please help us solve this problem that does not allow us to live in peace.”

With generous support from Dharma Social Programs, on September 9th Melody underwent a successful surgery at the Belga Hospital to close the hole in her heart. Less than one week later, Melody was able to go home to be with her loved ones and to celebrate this new opportunity to lead a healthy life.

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