Caleb's mom carries his little, skinny body in one arm and a stack of his charts and X-rays in the other. She enters the dark hospital room with wide-eyes, fear and concern for what the white-coated doctors will tell her about her 7 month old baby boy. Caleb is sick, and she is all too aware of how bad it is. . . the effort of eating stresses his weakened body, and he turns blue from a lack of oxygenated blood . . . and it's getting worse, quickly. She hands the charts to the nurse and lays him gently on the exam table. He's sedated, so his little head wobbles without her support and his body sings deeply into he cushioned topping.
Dr Tom puts a little gel on his skin and gently presses the echo probe onto his chest; it takes just a moment to orient the view and he stares intently at the screen. Mom's in the back, tears streaming down her face; this is scary; this is her precious boy and finding him help hinges on the next few moments. As Dr Tom centers in on the view, his shoulders drop and so does my heart. Caleb has transposition, a complicated congenital defect . . . too complicated for the CardioStart medical team to treat on this mission trip. Without surgery, he has maybe six months to live, and if it weren't for Helping Hands Honduras, the story would end here. He would go home, get worse, struggle to breathe, and no matter how much mom prayed, he would die . . . soon.
But that's not where this story ends because there are humanitarian organizations formed and run by big-hearted people that will make calls, raise money, handle immigration papers and maybe, just maybe get Caleb and his mom to a top US heart center for treatments. If they pull this off, like they have so many times before, Caleb will get to return home to play and run with his friends, go to school, and live a happy healthy life that every kid should get to have. These people give their lives to this work. What will you give? What would you give for your own child?