4620 Haygood Rd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23455
Many Hands Make Miracle Possible for Ailing Boy from Dominican Republic
An Irish proverb says, "In the shelter of each other the people live."
In the shelter of many caring groups and people, Elyn, a 12-year-old boy with a hole in his heart, was given life. Elyn is from the Dominican Republic. He was born with a heart defect that left him so weak he couldn't run, play or attend school.
Through several remarkable liaisons, Elyn traveled to Albany, NY for an operation performed by a leading pediatric cardiac surgeon. Medical costs were paid by Rotary International's Gift of Life program. The boy's free flight to New York was arranged by Angel Airlines International. A missionary named Karen traveled with him to Albany and stayed with him at the Ronald McDonald House until after his surgery. Then, the House manager, Debbie, took Elyn in to live with her family in their home upstairs as he continued to recover.
Indeed, Elyn's recovery has been called miraculous. The surgeon said the hole in his heart was so large "he should have died in infancy." Debbie said when she first saw Elyn, "he was so weak, he couldn't walk 60 feet without sitting or squatting. He went to bed at 7 o'clock. His lips were a dark color. His eyes were bloodshot. He was so withdrawn. I'd never seen anything like it." When he awoke from anesthesia after surgery, Debbie said his "nails and lips were their natural color. When he opened his eyes, they weren't bloodshot. When a child feels good you can see what his personality is like. Before he didn't have the strength to laugh and play. Now he's a new being."
Angel Airlines flew Elyn back home to the DR to begin his new life.