Two local families were on a mission trip to Nicaragua when they met a little boy who needed life-saving surgery on his heart. They arranged for him to come here where many generous locals completely took care of it financially.
A little burst of energy hard for our cameras to keep up with, Jose Anthony took the playground at Children's Hospital by storm. You wouldn't know it by watching him now, but just a few weeks ago, he couldn't walk across a room without running out of breath.
"It was a bad situation. He would get so exhausted, he would throw up," said Sugey, Jose's mother.
She described how he couldn't play like a normal 3-year-old and wasn't expected to live for more than a few more years. He was born with what's called transposition of the great vessels. His arteries were in the wrong place which couldn't give him the oxygen he needed. The surgery to correct the problem isn't done in their home of Nicaragua.
"I first heard of his condition in January on a medical mission trip," said Dr. T.R. Lewis, Orthopedic Surgeon. "Our doctor there met this family and knew of his heart condition, so we started making plans to bring him here."
Dr. Lewis, an orthopedic surgeon at Children's Hospital, took his family and another to Nicaragua to meet Jose Anthony. Other families from Henderson Hills Baptist Church covered travel costs and brought a team of surgeons headed by pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Harold Burkhart.
"So immediately after surgery, he goes from being dark blue to pink like you and me from oxygenation," said Dr. Harold Burkhart. "It's gratifying because immediately when you pull back the drapes that you've made a huge difference."
It was a life-saving and life-giving difference. Now, his mom can no longer keep him still.
"He has so much energy. He runs, doesn't walk and he doesn't get exhausted," Sugey said. "It's been a huge miracle what God has done."
"We've had fun taking our kids to develop relationships with the people of Nicaragua and share the love of Christ," said Dr. Lewis.
Jose Anthony and his mom went back to Nicaragua about a week ago. He will see a pediatric cardiologist there for regular check-ups and is expected to live a healthy and active full life.