Who is Herbie helping?
Shanna Baccus (Jamaica)
Her doctors first noticed Shanna's heart defect when she was only six days old. The extremely serious medical condition became more noticeable as her growing body put more strain on her damaged heart. By the time Shanna turned three years of age, her skin had a bluish tinge from the lack of oxygen in her blood, and even normal activities like walking were too tiring for her.
Without surgery, Shanna would die of heart failure. What panicked her parents was the fact that no one in Jamaica is capable of performing the surgery she required. Luckily for the Baccus family, Shanna's physician knew of the Herbie program and submitted the young girl's medical reports to the Cardiologist at final check up.
After review by Herbie Fund support was approved and she traveled to Toronto, accompanied by her father, Royston.
On New Year's Day, Dr. John Coles performed open-heart surgery on Shanna. During the six-hour operation he closed the hole between the two ventricles and made the outlet of the right ventricle wider by removing thickened muscles. He also put in a patch to enlarge the outflow part of the ventricle.
Shanna's father was amazed at the quality of treatment his daughter received at The Hospital for Sick Children and could not believe how they were treated like VIPs thanks to Herbie Fund. The biggest and most important surprise of all was the incredible change in the little girl from Jamaica.
“Before the surgery she wasn't able to walk for more than five minutes. When you'd walk with her, you'd have to walk so slowly and keep stopping” said Pelocita Wilson, Shanna's aunt and Canadian sponsor.
Right after Shanna was released from hospital, she was running up and down stairs, chasing after her cousins and tiring out the adults. But you won't hear any of her relatives complaining. They all think that trying to keep up with Shanna was a wonderful way to start the New Year.