Amy M. Le was born in the province of Tra Vinh, Vietnam, nine months before the fall of Saigon. She was born with an atrial septal defect, a congenital heart defect that required open-heart surgery to survive. At the time, access to medicine and proper medical care was nearly impossible, and life looked grim.
“My mother was told I’d be lucky if I lived to be five years old,” Amy said. “She was desperate to find a way to save my life.”
The Le family was sponsored to the United States in 1980 and a few months after their arrival into America, Amy was rushed to Seattle Children’s Hospital to receive the life-saving surgery she needed from Dr. Dale Hall, a triple board certified surgeon whose expertise in valve repair gave Amy a new lease on life. In the operating room was also Susan Russell Hall, a medical illustrator who drew the details of the surgery and gave the drawings to Amy’s mother.
Hand-drawn pictures from Amy’s surgery in 1980 by Susan Russell Hall
After Amy’s mother, Snow, passed away in 2017, Amy went on a journey of self-discovery to learn about her CHD, reconnect with her Vietnamese roots, and unearth the history surrounding her immigration from Vietnam to the United States.
“When I discovered Healing Hearts Vietnam,” Amy said, “I was overjoyed. Not only does the organization work tirelessly to help families in Vietnam the get the life-saving cardiac surgery needed, but the team of doctors and volunteers are incredible.”
Today, Amy is not only surviving, but she is thriving. Amy resides in Oklahoma with her husband, son, and pets. She is a full-time author who dedicates her time giving back to the community. She is the co-founder of The Heart Community Collection, a cooperative of creatives who provide resources to the CHD community.
“I wish my mother had a resource like Healing Hearts Vietnam. Through their work, the lives of many heart warriors in Vietnam can be saved,” Amy said.
You can help children like Amy through your support of Healing Hearts Vietnam, whose mission is to provide financial assistance to make life-saving cardiac surgeries available for needy Vietnamese families. Formed in 2015 by Drs. Chad Hoyt and Tom Forsberg, Healing Hearts Vietnam is built on the values of love, equality, value of life and fiscal responsibility. To learn more, visit https://healingheartsvietnam.com/
Amy reunited with her heart surgeon and medical illustrator in 2021