Philippines

Smile Stories

When we think of children we usually envision happy, active kids running around without a care in the world. However for children with congenital heart disease they are often sickly and a bit of activity could tire them out. Some live sedentary lives not because they want to but because they need to. Many of them have uncertain futures and live each day at a time.

When we have the chance to help improve these children’s lives, every single smile we receive is priceless. Here are their stories and how Nu Skin distributors have helped create smiles.

Name:   Carl James Diaz
Age:    4 years old

4-year old Carl was diagnosed with the congenital heart disease called ventricular septal defect. With parents brought home an income averaging USD$180 a month and the Diaz family had no means to pay for their child’s expensive, yet badly needed operation.
Through SEA CHF and CHILD Carl was operated on September 22 with the corrective heart procedure called VSD device closure.

Carl is recovering well and is looking forward to going to school, playing, studying, and enjoying life like other boys his age.

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Name   :   Alexis Vincent Abad
Age      :   3 months old

Three months ago, newborn Alexis Vincent Abad was diagnosed with Complete Heart Block, which limits his heart’s ability to pump blood to the rest of the body. He is the youngest of the four children. Alexis’ father, a factory worker, was just earning USD 186 (PHP 9,000). To make the required operation possible, his parents searched for financial assistance. And, it was through the support of Nu Skin SEACHF that Alexis was able to get the help he needed.

Alexis can now have a normal childhood without a life-threatening disease, and look forward to a brighter future

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Name   :   Jia Potestades
Age      :   1 years old

When Jia was born, she brought joy and love to her parents. She was the apple of their eyes but little did they know that she had a congenital heart condition known as Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). Their lives were turned upside down as they feared for their baby’s health. If left untreated, abnormal heart functions could slow growth and limit her development and activities. This was definitely not the life they had envisioned for Jia. 

However, her parents were unable to afford the high costs of treatment and they sought the help of Nu Skin SEA CHF and CHILD. They were fortunate that through their assistance, Jia successfully underwent surgery and is no longer limited by her diseaseand can now look forward to a normal childhood.

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Name:   Knives Rivas
Age:   5 yrs. old

The Rivas family had a life-changing moment when their son, Knives, was diagnosed with the congenital heart disease called acyanotic patent ductus arteriosus. With the family solely relying on the father’s income as a tricycle driver, even expenses for their day-to-day living was tough, and the family was certain they could not pay for Knives’ operation.

SEA CHF and CHILD helped the Rivas family by paying for Knives’ heart surgery.

Five-year old Knives can now enjoy his childhood like any normal boy, and can grow up to be whatever he dreams to be, no longer held back by his limiting disease.

 

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Name      :   Jermia Nimo
Age         :   1 Year Old

Born to Melvin and Nelly, Jermia was diagnosed upon birth with the congenital heart disease called Patent Ductus Arteriosus. Living on a monthly income of USD100, the Nimos had little to get by much less pay for the immediate surgery needed for their child. It was then that they were advised to bring Jermia to the Philippine General Hospital to seek sponsored surgery.

Through CHILD’s partnership with SEACHF, Jermia was able to undergo the procedure needed for her ailment, open heart surgery under cardio pulmonary bypass, last 11 January 2016.

She tolerated the procedure well and has recovered quickly. Now Jermia can grow up like any normal child, free from a heart disease.

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Name      :   EJ Castillo
Age         :   7 Months Old

EJ was born in Nueva Ecija to parents Edgar and Jennifer. Edgar works as a farmer, and Jennifer a housewife. Their son EJ was diagnosed with the congenital heart disease called ALCAPA (anomalous origin of the left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery), but with under USD 130 as monthly income, the family were struggling to make ends meet with their daily needs and could not afford to pay for their child’s costly operation on their own. It was then that Edgar and Jennifer were advised to seek financial help.

Through CHILD’s partnership with SEACHF, the cost of EJ’s operation was covered and he successfully underwent the procedure called Open Heart Surgery under cardio pulmonary bypass last February 18. No longer limited by his disease, EJ can now look forward to a happy and healthy life.

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Name: Christine Bagallion
Age: 18 years old

Christine, who hails from Iloilo, was diagnosed with congenital heart disease called acyanotic atrial septal defect. With both parents already deceased, she was taken care of by her aunt, who had very little to get by with her job as a vendor in the province. Due to their limited funds, Christine was brought to the CHILD Foundation at the Philippine General Hospital.

Christine got her much-needed operation and recovered well. She now looks forward to finishing school and living a brighter future.

 

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Name: Bin Badz Sinon
Age: 6 years old

Butch and Baidido Sinon had a life-changing moment when their son, Bin Badz was diagnosed with congenital heart disease called ventricular septal defect. With Butch as a construction worker and Baidido as a housewife, the Sinon’s were struggling to support their family and could not fund Bin’s much-needed operation.

Through SEA CHF and CHILD, doctors were able to do corrective heart surgery for Bin’s condition on December 18, 2013.

Now Bin is on his way to a full recovery and can enjoy his childhood, playing games and looking forward to a bright future just like any boy his age.

 

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Name: Hayden Sta. Romana
Age:  7 years old

Hayden was diagnosed with the congenital heart disease called ventricular septal defect (VSD) and needed surgery as soon as possible. However the family lived on a US$180 monthly income and did not have the means to pay for their boy’s much needed operation.
Through SEA CHF and CHILD, Hayden was able to get his life-saving VSD patch closure through open heart surgery on September 9, 2014.

He tolerated the procedure well and is on his way to a full recovery, able to enjoy his childhood years as a healthy, normal boy.

 

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Name   :   Kaye Celine Lapastora
Age      :   4 years old

Kaye was like any other playful, active 4-year-old but it was through routine medical examinations that it was discovered she had a congenital heart condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). This meant she would fall ill frequently and she would be weak and constantly out of breath. As time went on, her overall health was greatly affected.

Kaye's mother worried about her daughter's physical well-being and saw the need for immediate medical intervention, but she was also financially strapped. Fortunately, with the support provided by Nu Skin SEA CHF and CHILD, Kaye underwent corrective surgery, and has returned to her cheerful, vibrant self. 

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Name   :   Jamier Valderama
Age      :   7 years old

Jamier, like all boys his age, longed for a normal childhood where he can freely play around with his peers. However 7-year-old Jamier faced a dilemma when he was informed that he had congenital heart disease, Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). This meant that his heart functions were greatly affected and weakened his overall immune system.

Jamier did not come from a well-off family and this meant surgery was far from his parents’ reach. However, his turning point came when Nu Skin SEA CHF and CHILD helped him receive interventional catheterisation surgery in May 2013. Jamier is currently living his life as a healthy active boy. 

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Name: Megan Gregorio
Age: 1 month old

Megan was diagnosed upon birth to have the congenital heart disease called tricuspid and pulmonary valve atresia. Her parents had barely enough money to pay for their baby’s delivery let alone pay for Megan’s much-needed surgery.

Through SEA CHF and CHILD, Megan underwent the procedure called cardiac catheterization on December 9, 2013.

Now Megan’s parents can look forward to their child leading a normal life, no longer restricted by such a life-threatening disease.

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Name   :   Jeffrey Legaspi
Age      :   17 years old

Seventeen years of suffering due to a rare, complex heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot, is now over for Jeffrey Legaspi. His parents, who were just earning USD 103 (PhP 5,000), cannot even afford to buy food, much less expensive medicine and medical supplies. With the help of Nu Skin SEACHF and CHILD Foundation, Jeffrey underwent a successful open heart surgery. He can now experience a normal and healthy adolescence at his hometown Laguna.

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Name   :   Jomari Marquez
Age      :   11 year old

Born to Maritess and Jovito Marquez, Jomari was diagnosed upon birth with the congenital heart disease called patent ductus arteriosus. With his father as a fisherman and his mother a housewife, the Marquez family live on a monthly income of USD32, and had little to get by much less pay for the immediate surgery needed for their child. It was then that they were advised to bring Jomari to the Philippine General Hospital to seek sponsored surgery.

Through CHILD’s partnership with SEACHF, Jomari was able to undergo the procedure needed for his ailment, PDA device closure, last September 4, 2015.

He tolerated the procedure well and has recovered quickly. Now John can grow up like any normal child, free from a heart disease that could restrict his valuable childhood years and be a threat to his life.

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Name: Fritz Gerald Sta. Maria
Age: 4 months old

Fritz was born with a rare congenital heart disease called double aortic arch, a condition in which the aorta has two vessels instead of one, which results to the two branches looping around and pressing down the windpipe and esophagus..

SEA CHF and CHILD helped his parents with the funding needed for Fritz to undergo open heart surgery on December 9, 2013.

Now Fritz is on his way to a full recovery and his parents can look forward to seeing their boy grow up.

 

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Name:  Jhon Michael Ysunza    
Age:    2 YRS. OLD

2-year old Jhon Michael was diagnosed with the congenital heart disease called acyanotic patent ductus arteriosus, a disease that causes irregular transmission of blood between the two most important arteries of the heart. With their boy in dire need of operation but having little money to get by,  Jhon’s parents brought him to the CHILD Foundation of the Philippine General Hospital. Through SEA CHF and CHILD, Jhon Michael finally had his life-saving operation.

Now, Jhon Michael is no longer restricted in life because of his condition, and can look forward to a brighter future.

 

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Name   :   James Chemari Deniega
Age      :   10 years old

James was born with a hole in the wall that separates his heart’s right and left ventricles, known as Ventricular Septal Defect. Medicines were temporarily used to control the symptoms. His then young parents couldn’t afford to fund the open heart surgery that he needed. They searched for various medical, this was when they found out about PGH-CHILD Foundation.

Through CHILD’s partnership with Nu Skin SEACHF, James underwent an open heart surgery. After his scheduled follow-up checkup, James is finally able to go back home with a big smile and a light heart.

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Name:  Cristine Joy Lat
Age:  2 year old, female

Little Cristine Joy was born with the congenital heart disease called acyanotic patent ductus arteriosus. With little money to get by, her parent brought her to Manila and sought the help of CHILD Foundation.

Cristine successfully underwent interventional catheterization on May 25, 2013. No longer limited by her disease, Cristine can now grow up and look to a bright future just like any other normal child.

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Name: Shane Mae Chavez
Age: 3 years old

Shane was 3 years old  when she was diagnosed with the congenital heart disease called acyanotic patent ductus arteriosus. Her father, who works as a security guard, was earning only enough to feed his family and could not afford the cost of operation. They were referred to the Philippine General Hospital, where Shane was taken under CHILD’s care. Through SEA CHF and CHILD, Shane was operate on November 31, 2012. Two weeks after her surgery, Shane was able to attend the FFG Christmas Party in Museo Pambata, where she received a Christmas gift, and grocery pack for her family.

 

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Name   :   Harlene Mae Caday
Age      :   3 years old

Harlene, 3 years old, was diagnosed with congenital heart disease called Acyanotic Patent Ductus Arteriosus. This affected her health greatly and as a young child, she was already suffering from irregular heart functions. Her parents worried over her constantly and Harlene became unhappy for most days. They realised Harlene needed surgery to help regain strength and improve her physique but the low income from her driver father meant they could not afford the high costs.

Harlene was recommended to Nu Skin SEA CHF and CHILD, and with their support, she underwent intervention catheterisation surgery.   Harlene has since recovered and looks forward to attending preschool.

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Name: Natasha Salvaloza
Age: 6 mos. old

Natasha was born with pulmonary valve atresia, a rare type of congenital heart disease that required immediate surgery, as the condition does not allow blood to travel to the lungs to be refreshed with oxygen. Natasha’s family had little income to get by much less pay for such an expensive operation, so they brought her to CHILD Foundation to seek help with their finances.

Through SEA CHF’s partnership with CHILD, Natasha was able to undergo corrective heart surgery on July 16, 2012.

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Name   :   Dan Marie Esteban
Age      :   13 years old

Dan Marie was diagnosed with the congenital heart disease called Patent Ductus Arteriosus. With her mother Gina as a housewife, and her dad Danilo a security guard averaging a monthly income of USD$ 200, the Esteban family had no means to pay for their daughter’s expensive, yet badly needed operation.

Danilo and Gina were told about CHILD Foundation of the Philippine General Hospital, and sought help there. Through SEACHF, they were able to get the funding they needed for their kid, who was operated on last August 4 with the corrective heart procedure called open heart surgery with cardio pulmonary bypass.

Dan Marie has recovered well and her parents are looking forward to making more meaningful memories with their child, now free from such a life-threatening disease.

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Name      :   Faith Cañete
Age         :   1 Year Old

Faith was diagnosed with the congenital heart disease called Tetralogy of Fallot. With her mother Arriane as a housewife, and her dad Ryan as an aircon technician earning an average monthly income of USD$ 210, the Cañete family had no means to pay for their daughter’s expensive, yet badly needed operation.

Ryan and Arriane were told about CHILD Foundation of the Philippine General Hospital, and sought help there. Through CHILD’s partnership with SEACHF, they were able to get the funding needed for their kid, who was operated on last January 8, 2016 with the corrective heart procedure called Closed Heart Surgery (BTS).

Now that Faith has gotten the treatment, she has recovered well and her parents are looking forward to making more meaningful memories with their child, now free from such a life-threatening disease.

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Name: Van Joshua Abella
Age: 13 years old

Van Joshua was diagnosed with the congenital heart disease called “Atrial Septal Defect”, which is also commonly referred to as a hole in the heart. This disease causes an abnormal amount of blood to flow through the lungs, and could lead to major complications such as stroke, abnormal heart rhythm, and hypertension. Having insufficient funds to pay for their son’s operation, Van’s parents sought the help of CHILD Foundation in the Philippine General Hospital.

Through CHILD’s partnership with SEA CHF, Van was able to have corrective heart surgery.

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Name: Wilson Ledesma
Age: 10 mos.

Wilson was born with the congenital heart disease called Patent ductus arteriosus, an illness that leads to abnormal blood flow between the aorta and pulmonary artery, two major blood vessels that carry blood from the heart. Due to the very high cost of the operation which they could not afford, Wilson’s family went to Manila and sought the help of CHILD Foundation in the Philippine General Hospital. Through CHILD’s partnership with SEA CHF, Wilson got his much-needed operation on Aug. 3, 2012. He underwent the surgery called cardiac catheterization and recovered well.

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Name   :   Riel Andrew Loyola
Age      :   8 years old

Riel Andrew was born Valenzuela to parents Ricardo and Raquel. Ricardo works as a painter, and Raquel a housewife. Riel was diagnosed with the congenital heart disease patent ductus arteriosus, but with only USD 85 as monthly income, the family were struggling to make ends meet with their daily needs and could not afford to pay for their child’s costly operation on their own.

Through CHILD’s partnership with SEACHF, the cost  for Riel’s operation was covered and he successfully underwent the procedure called PDA device closure last August 4. No longer limited by his disease, Riel can now further his education without a life-threatening ailment, and can look forward to a brighter future. 

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Name   :   Julyana Samson
Age      :   11 years old

Julyana is the eldest of 3 in her family. Her father is a driver and her mother is an administrative officer. They are a typical family with a meager income that is only sufficient for their basic needs.

Julyana was one year old when she was diagnosed with congenital heart disease. She needed to undergo a very expensive heart operation that the family could not afford, so her mother, Anna, wrote to many organizations seeking help. Nu Skin SEA CHF answered their plea and prayers.

Anna recalls that time when Julyana had to fly to Thailand for her operation:
“From the moment we flew to Bangkok, Thailand on October 27, 2004, we had mixed emotions stepping on a foreign land for the first time. But the full support of Nu Skin along with the warm and friendly reception and assistance of Dr. Pirapat Mokarapong, and the staff at Rajavithi Hospital, was more than enough to wash away all apprehensions and make us feel comfortable while we were away from home.”

Julyana is now 11 years old and is a healthy, active, and smart girl who enjoys the vibrance of life that all normal kids experience. She has come a long way since her operation 10 years ago.  Julyana is excels in school with Math being her top subject. She is an active sports person and is also a member of her church choir.  Julyana hopes to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor, an engineer or a pilot one day.

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