Ryan: heart defect warrior aiming for the skies

Ryan receiving treatment in San Antonio, Dec 2015

For the first three years of his life, Ryan Mbuvi was strong and healthy. His growth and development milestones were normal. The only ailments he had on very few occasions of his young life were common cold and flu which were no cause for alarm. He showed no signs of an underlying critical illness.

When he started school at a local Montessori at the beginning of 2015, he was so excited to have long days of learning and play with his peers. As a first born, it was not his daily norm to have so many children around for play and school quickly became his new favorite place. Unfortunately, his excitement did not last so long. On the third week of school, Ryan’s mum received a call from his teacher. Ryan’s fever and pulse rate were both high.

He was rushed to hospital where days later, he was diagnosed with Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). Hoping it was a misdiagnosis, his parents sought a second opinion which confirmed their worst fears. VSD is a defect in which there is a hole in the wall that separates the lower left and right chambers of the heart.

 “This diagnosis was the beginning of a draining and devastating journey in pursuit of Ryan’s treatment. The drugs were extremely expensive and could only be bought at a specific pharmacy. Ryan needed a heart surgery to correct the defect. At some point, the doctors gave up on him saying they lacked capacity to handle the surgery.” Ryan’s mum.

Ryan’s mum re connection with a long-time friend became the turning for this young family. It was this friend who introduced her to Care for A Child’s Heart (CFACH). CFACH, in partnership with Heart Gift International took up Ryan’s case and were able to fly him to San Antonio, USA, where he had a successful heart surgery in December 2015.

Ryan is now a 9-year-old grade 3 student, enjoying good health and no longer needs any post-surgery medicine. He still enjoys playing with his friends in school and his younger sister, Lindsey at home. Ryan looks forward to becoming a pilot and hopes to fly so frequently between Nairobi and San Antonio, in thanksgiving and community service for the life-saving surgery he had there!

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