Niños con Valor Important Update - February 28, 2009

A new thought of God

"Every child born into the world is a new thought of God, an ever-fresh and radiant possibility."

Kate Douglas Wiggin

We wish that our first post about Pedacito de Cielo beginning its orphanage phase was filled with lots of fun and rejoicing, but unfortunately, we are already dealing with an emergency situation with one of our little ones. There are lots of great things going on at PDC, and we'll put that in our upcoming newsletter, but please read on about one of our babies who needs all of our help...

On our first day functioning as an orphanage, we received two children, Guillermo and Pablo (pseudonyms to protect their privacy). Both were very happy and adjusted quite well to the routine and enjoyed all the attention that they received from the staff.


Guillermo with our volunteer, Kim, on his first day with us at PDC.

As all of these children coming in have compromised immune systems, we had our friend, Dr. Joe Sherman, come by and review each child's case file with the staff so that we would understand the individual needs of each child and how to deal with any issues that may arise. We were all very thankful for this information as it helped allay some fears the staff had.


Guillermo and Dr. Joe, during a consultation to review all the new children's health issues.

The information was especially helpful when dealing with Guillermo's situation. He was abandoned early on by both his mother and father and then shortly after, his grandparents. He has battled chronic pneumonia and severe malnutrition. Guillermo just turned one year this month, but he is small and underweight for his age (about 16.5lbs/7kgs) due to early neglect as an infant, and also because of a heart condition he has, tetralogy of Fallot. This is a rare congenital defect that causes blood to not be oxygenated properly (click here to find out more). There is a connection between alcohol and drug consumption during pregnancy and tetralogy of Fallot, and since Guillermo was originally found lying on the street next his passed out mother, this is a definite possibility.

On Sunday, Guillermo started turning blue, which can happen with those with his condition, so we brought him to the hospital so he could be put on oxygen. He had just left the hospital after having been in for four months battling pneumonia, so we were very sad to have to put him back in, but his blood oxygen levels were dangerously low, compounded with a severe infection. He is doing better now, but is in poor spirits as he's very bored and uncomfortable, because of the oxygen tubes and IV line in his foot. We have round the clock staff caring for him in the hospital, trying to keep him happy and distracted, but it's a difficult task.


Guillermo his third day in the hospital on oxygen

uillermo is in desperate need of surgery. We knew this was going to be a reality for him, but we didn't think it was going to be quite so soon. Because he is so underweight, we wanted to get his weight up, and then plan for the surgery, but after several consults, we've been advised that the risks of operating on him sooner outweigh the risks of waiting for him to gain the weight.

While we are looking into several charities that provide services at a lower rate, there are long waiting lists for these, and we do not have that kind of time. We've been advised that the costs will be at least $5000 for this surgery. This is an extraordinary cost here in Bolivia, but as we are working with the best cardiology department in the country, and this is a very rare surgery, we knew that the costs were going to be high. The government has already stated that the universal healthcare for children under 5 will not cover the surgery, so we must cover the costs.

We are inviting you, as a part of the Niños con Valor community, to join us in helping this precious little child. Here's how you can help:

US-
Ninos con Valor, c/o Gloria Liias,
208 Melrose Street, Melrose, MA 02176-1720

UK-
Orkney Helping Hands,
22 Grieveship Brae, Stromness, Orkney Islands, Scotland UK
KW16 3BG

We realize that there are many people in need right now, and resources may be scarce, but we ask you to consider giving as much as you can to provide our little Guillermo with a bright healthy future.

Many blessings upon you for your generosity,

All of us at Niños con Valor