Thursday, June 9, 2011

Happy update on Anika's heart surgery!

Hi everybody! Do you all remember Anika Arjona? She's the 4-year-old girl who only has one ventricle in her heart. Normally, we have two--one for pumping out blood to the lungs, the other one to the rest of the body. Because Anika only had one ventricle, her little heart had to work extra hard to keep her body alive. She needed expensive surgery. She needed it fast.

I blogged about her a couple of months ago when I stumbled upon a Tweet asking for help. I was directed to Anika's Heart, a blog her parents wrote to spread their daughter's case and to raise funds for her surgery. When I read what Karen, her mother, wrote--

"I am reaching out to the world because my daughter means a lot to me. Anika is truly a miracle baby. There are no words to describe how strong this little girl is. She is a sweet, happy, loving and smart child. When she was diagnosed, we were told that there's no guarantee for survival but she is still here with us even without the surgeries so we will fight for her no matter what."

--that gutted me to the core. I will fight for my child, too, no matter what! Many others felt the same and they shared her story through Tweets, blogs and Facebook. In the last couple of months, thousands of people have seen Anika's story and many generously donated to her cause. And the best birthday gift ever came when an American hospital offered to perform her surgery for free!

That's a scary photo, I know. But Karen told me that Anika truly is a fighter! She wrote me in an email soon after the successful operation: "The doctors said she's a miracle to have lived four years without surgery. And the surgery had risks but she was so strong. She woke up two hours after surgery, dapat mga 2-3 days pa sila gigising [patients usually wake up 2-3 days] after heart surgery. When she heard my voice, she opened her eyes and the doctors were surprised! They had to give her more meds to put her back to sleep. She's pink now, Frances! Yey!"

Yes, she's pink now. Look at her now!

Ya know, those pink cheeks did it for me. I just cried at my desk. Those pink cheeks means there's blood rushing through her little body and that she's out of danger now. Anika's going to be okay!

Anika got her parents' strength, I believe. Despite all the trials of the past 3 years, her mommy, Karen, said, "I believe God gave her a special heart so that she can touch other hearts and let others realize that they should be happy for what they have and learn to share to those in need. "

Well, she's doing just that, Karen. I'm sure you're very proud!

Thank you to everyone who spread the word and who helped raise the funds this family needed. You didn't know this girl and you had your own troubles, too, and yet you took the time and the money needed to make her life better. God bless you!


  1. I am so happy learning about this news (I'm crying right now). I'm one of the many who cried upon learning about her condition and prayed about her recovery. God is really amazing! I would love to meet her someday and just give her a hug.

    Thank you, Frances, for sharing this piece of good news.

  2. What a great news!!! God is good all the time.

    I also bookmarked her blog and whenever I browse my favorites, I wanted to delete her site coz I'm to scared to open her blog and might read some bad news. It is such a relief that she is safe and happy and healthy. May God continue to bless Anika and her family :)

  3. wow! that's great news!! thanks for sharing their story frances

  4. hooray anika!!! you are loved and blessed :D your titas from the blogosphere all love you!!

    thanks for the update frances!

  5. thanks for the update... am still crying now from seeing her pics ... am so happy and proud of her for being so brave

  6. Nakakaiyak na nakakatuwa!
    This is great news indeed and thank God for miracles :)
    Even in our own very small way, I was glad to be able to help.
    Frances, you were also an instrument so may God bless you too!

  7. I just cried at my desk too! :( This is such great news! :) Anika is such an inspiration!

  8. Please share Anika's story! It's so inspiring. =)

  9. i was so sad when anika had to do heart surgery thank you anika for being brave
    and happy may allah bless you anika
    this is from areeba 9-10 years old you have showed me how to become brave i will see you some country is pakistan thank you


This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!