Family Needs Help After $10k for Boy’s HLHS Surgery Stolen

At just four years old, Gabriel Spiro is facing his 3rd open-heart surgery. You see, Gabriel was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a rare and severe congenital heart defect. Unfortunately, the Spiro family is facing some difficulties after someone broke into their van and stole $10,000, as well as a laptop, out of a safe. According to ABC13, the family, who had traveled from Arkansas to Texas for Gabriel’s surgery, was going to use those funds to help pay for his surgery.

Now, Gabriel’s aunt, Jerri Harris, organized a fundraiser via GoFundMe to help the family pay for Gabriel’s heart surgery. As she explains on the fundraising page:

Gabriel is the most PRECIOUS boy [who] was going to have heart surgery this week, and all the money they had for the travel fees and heart surgery was stolen today. This heart surgery is a HUGE thing and something this baby needs!!

If you want to help support Gabriel and the Spiro family, considering donating to the fundraiser today.

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a rare, complex congenital birth defect that occurs during fetal growth. While HLHS has no known cause, there are some suggestions that it could run in families. For example, those who have one child with HLHS have an increased chance of having another child with HLHS. The condition causes an underdeveloped, overly small, or undeveloped left side of the heart. Ultimately, this impacts the way that blood flows through the heart, preventing oxygen-rich blood from moving throughout the body. Symptoms usually appear shortly after birth, causing infants to become incredibly ill. HLHS requires surgery or other interventions following birth. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Cyanosis (ashen or bluish skin color)
  • Poor feeding
  • Inactivity or abnormal drowsiness

Without rapid intervention, HLHS can cause infants to go into shock, which can be fatal. If your child shows any of the following symptoms of shock, please call 911, or other emergency care, immediately:

  • Cold or clammy skin that may appear ashen or gray
  • A weak, but rapid, pulse
  • Lackluster eyes
  • Blank stare
  • Abnormal breathing
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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