Proud Poppa's Page
Welcome to my Walk and Play L.A. page! I am excited to be part of the second annual Walk and Play L.A. and to be Team Captain for our daughter's team "Liana of Troy and the Heartbreakers"'
More children receive care from CHLA than any other hospital in the region. Walk and Play L.A. supports the only hospital solely dedicated to the health of children in Los Angeles and neighboring communities. The walk and Play LA event will take place on Saturday June 2, 2018 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Please read my story below to understand why I am dedicated to helping this great organization and here are a few ways you can get involved:
- Donate to my Page by clicking on the donate now button on my page to help me reach my fundraising goal.
- Join our team and create your own fundraising page!
Here is our (my) story!
Family and Friends! This time last year we had let all of you know about Liana's serious medical issues and the need for her to have a corrective bladder surgery. We walked in support of CHLA's Urology department as we anticipated she would have her much needed surgery around her first birthday. She has continued to have to deal with the daily routine of multiple procedures daily but luckily never had any significant issues. However, as her first birthday was approaching and we were preparing to celebrate the holidays we had a scare after one of her procedures at home that required us to take her to the ER at CHLA. We expected it to be a quick visit and hopefully get some answers relating only to her issues related to Urology but instead she had some abnormal readings in her oxygen levels that concerned the doctors. It was so much of a concern that we were admitted and spent a few days in the hospital trying to determine what the cause of her results were. When it appeared there was no serious issue we were discharged with hopes all was well and we could again prepare her for surgery. She was seen by her pediatrician who again found the same strange results in her oxygen levels and we also had to return to the ER again for additional Urology complications.
Since her surgery was hopefully going to be coming up soon to finally correct her bladder her Pediatrician wanted to make sure everything was safe before proceeding any further with her surgery and the day before her 1st birthday we were referred to a Cardiologist to hopefully be cleared for her surgery. Unfortunately when we thought we couldn't have our world turned any further upside down it was. We were told that she had a significant heart defect that would require surgery to correct it before she could have any other surgery. We were shocked and scared beyond belief at the thought of Liana having this issue and having to have heart surgery. Although it was clear she had a defect which was called a PDA, it was not clear if there were any other issues that needed to be diagnosed and Dr. Ferry, in order to make sure he had all the information needed performed a heart catheter procedure. Unfortunately it not only confirmed the PDA but also indicated she suffered from Pulmonary Hypertension which was not expected, and instead of coming home we were admitted to CHLA and Liana had to go through multiple tests to determine what the cause of the hypertension was and if she could even have a surgery to correct her heart.
Over the next few days we watched and waited to find out what if anything could be done. I can say I have never felt as helpless, scared or stressed in my entire life while we watched our daughter and wondered how this would all turn out. Fortunately the medication and testing revealed she was going to be able to have her surgery and we were told she could go home and in a week would come back to have open heart surgery. While we were there two doctors really were "angels" to us that seemed to be there to talk to us and explain everything right as we were sometimes losing hope. Dr. Su and Dr. Badran were there for Liana and did everything they could to make sure we understood what was going on as well as providing excellent care for Liana.
Her surgery was scheduled with Dr. Starnes who we cannot even begin to explain how grateful we are that he also met with us and was her surgeon. Before we went home we also met with Anica (social worker) who was able to help us schedule Liana's baptism the weekend before her surgery which we wanted done considering the uncertainty of the surgery. On the day of her surgery we were scared, hopeful and wishing we could trade places with Liana as we watched her be taken away from us as she waived and smiled at us not knowing if we would ever see her again. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and we just waited. Dr. Starnes came to meet with us and we found out that Liana did not have just the PDA that they initially thought but what was explained to us as an AP Window which was much more significant and also had to have part of her aorta reconstructed. We spent the next few days watching her try to recover from her surgery and go through mutiple complications that I hope to never see her or any child go through again. But ultimately she came through and when we saw that smile we knew she would be ok!
Liana is now home recovering and will still be on medication for her pulmonary hypertension for some time. She will need to go through another heart catheter procedure in the near future before she can be cleared for her bladder surgery. But right now the signs have been positive that she will overcome this issue, have her surgery to correct her bladder and for those of you who remember have her hip dysplasia corrected and we have to believe she will be on her way to a normal childhood!
We chose our team theme this year because as most of you know we are huge USC Trojan fans. Not only because they have a great legacy in sports but my grandfather was given a chance to succeed when he came to this country by a "USC Man", Nicole's father was cared for when he was ill by USC doctor's and the school and the motto fight on has got us through some tough times over the years. Liana has from before being born had to "Fight On" and when we asked for even the most basic support Liana received a letter from Mr. Lynn Swann wishing her the best during her surgery and given her the support of the trojan family.
We are walking to raise money for CHLA not only because Liana will continue to receive care there but so that if another family can have even one more day to spend with their child because of the care they receive from CHLA it will be worth the effort. I hope you can join us this year and walk with us or donate on one of our behalf. We hope to have an event or auction off some items this year I am sure you will enjoy and will even be making my own pledge that if we can raise $3,000 as a team I am even losing my "stache" for the first time in over 20 years!
Thank you on behalf of our entire family!
Aaron (Proud Poppa) Meraz
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