Two-year-old Rancel absolutely refuses to settle for one measly lap around the surgery floor corridors. There’s really no telling how long he’d wander if the matter weren’t up to the nurses trailing him. They cheerfully lugged his chest tube and infusion pump this way and that way for a whole two laps. Frankly, no one can keep up with the little rascal anymore.


But that vitality wasn’t always a reality for Rancel. In fact, his life was quite the opposite. “He’s always tired,” his mom María explains the day before surgery. The young boy’s heart condition was discovered earlier this year. And although it was no surprise to mom, whose older daughter underwent the same procedure Rancel soon would, her concern is palpable in the hours leading up to his operation.


María speaks carefully, guarded, her mind absorbed in something distant and worrying. And it seems at first like Rancel is mirroring mom’s mood, although her countless glances at him make it hard to be sure who is emulating who. After parting for a brief 4 hours, when Rancel had his partial atrioventricular canal successfully repaired by an expert team of ICHF volunteers and local staff, he was delivered to the ICU at 8:20PM on August 30th, 2016.


He’s apparently eager to catch up on lost time. Rancel hopped out bed at the first opportunity, less than 17 hours after leaving surgery. His mom is grateful and hopeful. “I’ve only met wonderful medical professionals here, and I have no doubt that Rancel will have a long and energetic life.”