My Nephew and Godson, Tadeo, just turned 3 last week. On Saturday the 6th of December he will be going in for his THIRD OPEN HEART surgery.
Tadeo's story: Such a great little kid, one of three children born to very loving parents (more on them later). He was born with an undeveloped left ventricle. In other words, he is missing a piece of his heart. The piece that is mostly responsible for pumping blood from the heart to the body. He is going under the knife yet again to enlarge a valve that will allow more blood to flow through his heart, reduce pressure and save his life.
This is his third surgery and one of many more to come if he is lucky. Although I would not consider anyone requiring heart surgery multiple times by age 3 to be lucky. But lucky he is! He is lucky in the sense that he is alive to this day. He is lucky that we have been blessed to have such great staff at Children's Hospital working with him. He is a fighter and my brave little nephew embodies and reminds me to live life no matter what.
Just by looking at him, one would never know his struggles if not for the tell tale scars that riddle his small chest. He calls them his choo-choo train tracks. He will show them to you and smile. Much like a badge of honor, similar to how an old war veteran might show off battle scars he lived to tell about. Otherwise he is shy and coy like most kids his age. His favorite superhero is Spiderman! He is loving and giving, a caring older brother and a pesky younger brother at the same time.
The only difference is he gets tired extremely fast and as one can imagine, limited physically in what he can do. Of course he does not understand why he cannot do everything like run, play ball, or swim like his cousins do which makes him all the more loveable. We were told that if he exerts himself to much, his heart might not be able to handle the stress and could cause major problems or ....(I wont discuss the end result but I am sure you can figure it out).
Parents: Both of his parents live in and teach in the West Covina area. They are invested in the community. They have both taught for more than a decade and during that time have helped enrich the lives of 1000's of children over that span. They have been together for 18 years and are a true love story. They met in college and the rest is history.
The Struggle: It is very common knowledge that teachers do not make huge sums of money. They often spend more time teaching other people's children than they get to spend time with their own. They do it because they love to inspire. They do it because they want to help others. They do it because they want to make a difference in someone else's life! There is not a single teacher that I know of that teaches to become wealthy. It never happens. They teach because they are passionate.
It is most stressful during this time of need to ask for help. My brother, Tadeo's father, is not one to ask for or make his needs public knowledge. He is very strong willed and keeps the family together through times like this. He has been there for me and is as great an older brother as one can ask for.
I am posting this on his behalf after we spent 3 hours in the hospital talking while donating blood (we both do the double donation). The cost of surgery, medicine, and the stress/worry of it all weighs heavy on his heart. Add in the holiday season, family, gifts, the other children, work and anyone can see there is a lot on their plates as a family. We are praying to and asking God to help ensure a succesful surgery and I felt a little bit of the spirit of giving would go a long way to help the family make ends meet.
Tadeo and his two sisters (5 and 1 years old) are too young to understand what the family is going through. They are such great kids and it would be nice able to do something for them as well. I am asking anyone that reads this to give from the heart to a pair of parents that have poured their hearts out to help so many others.
Please keep this family in your prayers. Thank you and God Bless this Holiday Season!
Uncle and Godfather of Tadeo
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