Who is Herbie helping?
Meet Our Hero: Kaycee, Philippines
Child’s condition: Congenital Heart Defect
Age: 3 (October 6, 2008)
Nationality: Filipino (Phillipines)
Treated: September 2011 through the Herbie Fund
After giving birth to three sons, Maria considered her daughter, Kaycee, a blessing when she was born on October 6, 2008 in the Philippines.
Maria's world was shattered the very next day when a murmur was found in Kaycee's heart. Doctors discovered a hole in her heart though an echocardiogram. The expensive surgery to patch the hole needed to happen when Kaycee was 2-4 years old. "We felt helpless," said Maria, so her family began searching for other options.
Maria's uncle lived in Toronto, so she contacted him. He learned about the Herbie Fund, which brought international patients to SickKids for specialized surgeries and treatment, and applied on Maria's behalf. Remarkably, she was accepted! Kaycee's family and community were very supportive. They rallied together to raise money to help Maria apply for a VISA and Passport to travel to Canada.
Kaycee and her mother arrived in Canada in August 2011 and had their first appointment at SickKids shortly after. Maria was fortunate to be able to stay with her uncle for the duration of that time.
Less than a month later, on September 21, Kaycee was taken to the Operating Room for a seven hour open-heart surgery. She had a few complications post-surgery and underwent three additional surgeries within the next few weeks. Maria was relieved when her daughter finally began to recover. "It felt like God was performing miracles for my baby," she said.
Maria and Kaycee spent nearly a month total in SickKids. They became very fond of the nursing staff who took an active interest in Kaycee's progress. The staff even cheered and applauded when Kaycee walked for the first time after surgery. They also planned a party for her, as she celebrated her third birthday in hospital. The party was set up in the ward's playroom and other children and families came by to share in the fun.
For the next two months, Kaycee and her mother will remain in Toronto for follow up tests with their medical team at SickKids. Maria looks forward to returning to the Philippines in January to be reunited with her husband and three older sons. They are already planning on going to the local church together upon their return.
"I am very happy the Herbie Fund exists. Kaycee has been given a new life and I am very grateful for that."