This is Reuben Martinez Calero, a six-year-old from Nicaragua. He lives with his parents and younger brother in San Rafael del Sur, Nicaragua, which is about two hours by bus from Managua. He is the same size as his two-year-old younger brother and he would get very tired and turn blue quickly when he tried to walk. Ruben knew, even at his young age, that something was wrong. He asked his mother, “Why so I get tired so fast? When will I be able to walk and play like the other kids?”
His mother brought Reuben to the Managua Hospital Salud Integral for evaluation where he was diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot, with which he was born. He was referred for surgery on May 1, 2008 where his heart was repaired by the International Children’s Heart Foundation medical team onsite from May 11-24, 2008.
Reuben recovered from his operation and went home with his parents several days after the operation. He can now live a normal life like other kids. Before leaving the hospital, we asked what he would like to do as soon as he gets home, Reuben smiled, “I want walk and play with the other kids.”
Reuben’s mother said, “I am grateful that my dream and Rueben’s dream has been realized-he will walk better.” She began to cry, but continued, “Our family is very poor and we are ever so grateful that the doctors and team from the United States helped my family and will help other poor people of Nicaragua.”
The International Children’s Heart Foundation would like to thank the Art for a Heart Club for sponsoring Reuben’s operation. It’s a wonderful demonstration of kids helping kids around the world.