*An article from Josh Lewis, a CHD success story and faithful supporter of Healing Hearts Vietnam:
Raised in a competitive, sports-focused family, Josh often had difficulty 'keeping up' with the faster kids. Doctors attributed his 'shortness of breath' and 'poor endurance' to asthma. It wasn't until his 12th-year annual physical that doctors detected a 'slight heart murmur' and realized Josh was among the 1 in every 100 children worldwide born with Congenital Heart Disease.
Testing revealed a 'substantial hole' between the upper chambers of Josh's heart known as an ASD (Atrial Septic Defect). This condition caused the mixing of oxygen-rich and oxygen-deficient blood within Josh's heart. The longer it was left untreated, the larger Josh's heart would get, and the higher the risk to his quality of life and life expectancy.
In 2008, Josh underwent successful open-heart surgery at the hands of Dr. Alfieris and the cardiac team at Galisono Children’s Hospital in Syracuse, NY. Thankfully, Josh's condition was caught early enough to avoid permanent heart damage. His prognosis is for a normal life expectancy, though perhaps with a 'bit' more appreciation for life and health.
Josh's CHD helped form within him an interest in medicine, a heart of compassion, and a desire to help those with a similar medical diagnosis who find themselves without the resources to secure life-saving surgery on their own. Josh's words say it best:
“I was in shock when I learned Vietnam has thousands of kids and adults with CHD awaiting life-saving surgery for the same defect I had, but who lack necessary funds. It broke my heart. Being a husband and father of two sons, I can't imagine knowing my child had a heart defect and not having the means to pay for an operation to heal him. To see my child or loved one struggle with day-to-day activities, become ill frequently, or see their life shortened by these treatable heart defects would crush me. I would go to the end of the earth to look for a solution to get them treatment. HHV is the solution for these families. This is why I have contributed and why I want to join a future HHV Medical Mission Trip to Vietnam. Contributing to helping others is a blessing. Being able to participate personally will be amazing.”
******* Josh earned his RN from SUNY Broome, and his BSN and MSN from Capella University. Josh is employed by the NYS Dept of Health, where he holds the title of Infection Preventionist.