Roberto’s infancy and childhood were plagued by persistent colds, high fevers, and general ill health. When he was 14 months old, Roberto was diagnosed with congenital cardiomyopathy. His parents vowed to hand the situation over to God, praying that they would find help to get the necessary treatment. At age two, he was admitted to the hospital for the first of several critical health crises over the following years.
Roberto’s parents, Silda and Robustiano, were both widows with grown children when they met and fell in love later in life. Roberto is their only son, and they cherish him dearly. Robustiano’s age and his own declining health prevent him from holding a steady job, so the couple sells snacks and candy in the streets of their hometown of Quillacollo, Bolivia.
In June 2014, Roberto was transferred from the Quillacollo Hospital to the higher-level Manuel Ascencio Villaroel Pediatric Hospital in Cochabamba, where he was admitted to the ICU in critical condition with a diagnosis of pneumonia. By now he was eight years old. Specialized studies performed for the first time revealed the complexity of his congenital heart defects, including a damaged aortic valve and patent ductus arteriosis (PDA), which is the failure of the ductus arteriosis to close after birth. When PDA is left uncorrected beyond infancy, it leads to congestive heart failure, which Roberto was now experiencing.
The family was referred to Fundación Puente de Solidaridad (PuenteSol) and Roberto was quickly approved for support through the Solidarity Bridge Heart Program. Doctors needed three months to stabilize him for surgery, which he finally received on September 16th at Clínica Belga in Cochabamba. Roberto’s heart abnormalities were severe, but the skilled hands of our surgical partners at Clínica Belga have given him the best chance available.
As his mother said to the PuenteSol social workers:
We just want to see him like a normal boy, sharing with his little friends at school and in the neighborhood.
The family is thankful to God and to all those who helped make this long-awaited surgery possible, including especially Isaac and Rene Goff.