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My Extra Life

Hi, my name is Jaime. And as I sit here and write this, i can’t help but think of how lucky and how blessed I am to be here, while at the same time thinking and hoping and praying for all the children that can’t be home for the holidays due to illness and injury. Being a CHD warrior, i know what its like to be in the hospital, resting and recovering, and waiting to go home. I was born with Tetrology of Fallot back in 1982, and for the first 5 years of my life, i couldn’t do much of anything. I was a “blue baby.”

Then in 1987, i had my first open heart surgery at Rady Children’s in San Diego, though back then i dont think it was called Rady’s. For years after that, i would visit every year, for regular check ups, tests, always looking forward to seeing the docs, and seeing the hospital, because while it terrifies me, its still a special place. And during all those years, i never knew what being a chd warrior was. I lived a semi-normal life, playing sports, and having fun. I didn’t realize how big congenital heart disease was, or how many people were affected by it. Regardless the children’st hospital and the doctors all held a special place in my heart. So when i learned about extra-life, a year long fundraiser that culminated in a 24 hr video game marathon to support Children’s Miracle Network, i knew i had to participate. Little did i realize, my journey wasn’t over.

In 2016, i learned that i would require a second surgery to repair my heart. It took my by surprise because for all these years, i believed i was fixed. I never learned that i would need constant care, and i never thought to ask. So in november of 2016, Dr. John Lamberti, the surgeron that repaired my heart in 1987, assisted in repairing my heart again. To think after 29 years, this doctor would be in my chest again blew my mind. The fact that the docs were able to recognize that i needed a second surgery, essentially saving my life, again, blows my mind. And i know that withouth Rady’s in San Diego, all those years ago, this wouldn’t have happened today.

Now as i visit Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, for my appointments, (they have the only adult CHD specialist in Hawaii), i think of all the children that are living with CHD now, and remember what i went through. I remember the support i received as a child, as well as the support that even now i’ve received as an adult, and i try to provide that same support to all these children. I want a cure for CHD, and for this reason, i support Children’s Miracle Network.