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Stories From the Brave Little Hearts: The gift that keeps on giving

In the last days of 2021 among the giving season, the Heartbeat Vietnam program was honored to receive a special gift from one of the families whom we have touched on our life-saving journey. It was a donation of 5 million VND (218 USD) that came from a grandmother in memorial of her grandchild Lu Tra My – a Brave Little Heart who made history in Vietnam’s cardiology treatment.

The gift that keeps on giving

Tra My was born in April 2012 in Ho Chi Minh City with severe congenital heart defects (CHD). Hers was regarded as one of the worst congenital heart cases ever treated in Vietnam, rejected by many hospitals as too difficult to treat.

Heartbeat Vietnam was one of 50 organizations from all over the world that Ms. Hanh – My’s mother – contacted to desperately ask for help. Moved by the baby’s challenging condition and the mother’s strong will, HBVN worked with other professionals and organizations in the field to seek timely treatment for My. The child was sponsored to fly to Hanoi, the first time ever recorded in the Vietnamese medical and airline’s history.

This brave little girl’s first surgery was very risky as she underwent a new and complex heart procedure known as the Norwood procedure. The surgery required the highest level of expertise and had never been performed before in Vietnam. She responded well and in September, My was temporarily discharged under her mother’s care to wait until her next surgery was scheduled, to everyone’s surprise and joy. However, on October 16, the little girl suddenly could not breathe and passed away in the arms of her mother and the doctors who fought so valiantly to keep her alive.

Although it has been 10 years, My’s will to live continues to inspire the HBVN team and everyone involved, motivating us to work harder to save children with CHD. After Tra My’s death, her mother continues to assist cardiovascular support organizations, connect doctors to Vietnam to train cardiologists, and raise funds to support heart surgeries for children to save more little hearts like her baby. Ms. Hanh is determined to build a community around CHD and cardiovascular health care, where all parents of children with heart issues, or simply someone interested in the topic, can access an official information source, get advice, and exchange not only information materials but also encouragement to parents that they can overcome childhood illness and lead healthy lives. Mothers like Hanh and their precious children have hope and encourage others to cling to life in the face of tragedy.

We will never forget how a brave little girl and her brave mother could bring together a team of passionate people and organizations from all over the world to make the impossible possible. Their journey forever stands as the symbol of hope, courage, determination, and collaboration that transcends borders. HBVN remains devoted to helping difficult cases like Tra My so that every child has an opportunity to live with a new healthy heart. The donations we cherish most are those from families like Tra My’s who have faced the pain of suffering children and lost the battle. Their donations are memorials that honor their babies and pay it forward to future generations.

To read more stories from the brave little hearts HERE.

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