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It's a real dream come true. I had been given a second chance at life.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Hello my name is Maria and I am honored to share my story with your agency.  I am very pleased with all the assistance I received from all those involved.  


The experience was marvelous and thank God that He put these people in my path.  I am grateful to your organization and all those that collaborated, but above all to Chela Marin, who helped me and put so much effort into this process.




My Childhood in Mexico


I was always a child full of energy, participating in many sports.  I worked very hard in school and strived to be number one, so that my parents would be proud of me.  I didn’t want them to ever worry about me. I never thought that the shortness of breath I felt off and on had anything to do with my heart.  I figured it was just because I over exerted myself.  So throughout all my school years I continued to participate in different sports.  Once I entered college, I decided I wanted to run a race and win it.  As it turned out, I did win the race, however, I was unable to stay and collect my trophy, as I was rushed to the hospital.  While in the hospital, all sorts of tests were done on me.   At this time, I received the bad news of what was happening to me.  This is also when I was told that I was prohibited from participating in any type of sport that would cause exertion.  I was so sad and I thought I would never be “normal” again.


During this time, I also realized that my faith in God was proven to be right.  The doctors told me that I had rheumatic fever and what I was going to need was heart surgery, a valve replacement.   I was so frightened, that I decided not to do it.  Eventually I fell in love and got married.  Although my pregnancy was a high risk one, I delivered a healthy baby boy.  However, the doctor did tell us that it was very risky and I had to be careful.  


Life in the U.S.

Soon thereafter, we came to the United States.  My husband found a job with benefits.  This included medical insurance and coverage 100%.  I immediately made a doctor’s appointment and when I went for my consult, the doctor was concerned about my condition.  They did several tests on me and determined I needed to be hospitalized at that time.  The hospital I was admitted to did not have the latest technology to do the valve replacement I needed and I was transferred to another hospital.  Upon my arrival to the new hospital, I was told that I had to have the surgery done right away.  I said my goodbyes to my husband and my baby and asked God to guide me through this time.  When I awoke, I was hooked up to all kinds of machine.  I was so thankful to be alive.  But as it turned out, the doctors told me that I would eventually need another surgery.  


Sixteen months later, I began to experience some fatigue and shortness of breath.  I saw my cardiologist who determined I needed at pacemaker.  A pacemaker was implanted and all went well, until 6 ½ years later, when I once again started experiencing symptoms.  My cardiologist told me that I was going to need a pacemaker replacement (generator). The pacemaker had also moved and needed to be repositioned.   Unfortunately, I no longer had insurance.  All I had was emergency Medi-cal,  that would not cover the surgery. 


My children were attending a Head Start Program in Anaheim and it is there where I met a wonderful woman named Rita Shokoohi.  She asked me what was going on as she noticed I was becoming more fatigue.  I mentioned to her what my situation was and she immediately referred me to a woman at Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove.  She told me that this person had been able to help her with other people she referred and maybe there would be a resource agency where I can referred to for assistance with my problem.  She thought maybe the family needed some counseling.   This was the beginning of my relationship with Chela Marin of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove.



Chela and I met in October of 2009.  She asked me many questions and told me that what I really needed was to get my pacemaker updated.  It was obviously affecting my life, as well as my family.  My children were scared that I would die.  Chela told me that it was important for me to stay healthy for my four children and that she would make it her priority to try to get help for me.  I gave her all my medical information, including the pacemaker company and the date of the implant.  She began to make lots of phone calls and talked to several pacemaker companies, my cardiologist and finally the hospital.  She called me every time she had an update.  She put a great deal of work into this and after five months, she was finally able to get Guidant Pacemaker Company, my cardiologist and Fountain Valley Hospital to perform my surgery and necessary intervention done at no cost.  It was amazing, a real dream come true, a miracle.  I couldn’t believe it, but I also knew that God put her in my life for a reason.  She was my “real angel on earth”. That is what my children call her, their angel.


Life After the Surgery


In February 2010, the surgery was performed by Dr. Arvid Nirula at Fountain Valley Hospital.  A new Guidant pacemaker generator was inserted and I felt that I had been given a second chance at life.  I woke up from my surgery with my husband and Chela standing next to me and knowing that I had once again made it.  My recuperation was remarkable and I am now able to see my children laugh and play and enjoy their life, without thinking that “something bad” may happen to their mom.  I am not short of breath or fatigued.


Truly, I have no words to describe how grateful I am.  My family and I will always keep you all close in our hearts and prayers.  I ask God to bless all of you always.


Many thanks,

Maria Amaro


Chela: Muchas gracias por todo y que Dios los cuide y los llenen de bendiciones a todos. Alexis, Yair, Erik y Sandy.

A Letter of Thanks from Alexis Diaz, Maria's Son:


I am writing this to you because I wanted to thank you for helping my mom with the surgery. I think you guys are like angels that fell from above because you can do things what we can’t do and you did an awesome job. I think you guys are very brave to take a risk of saving a person’s life or taking them out of danger. I want mom healthy again. 



I am so happy that I want to give lots of thanks to you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. God bless you my Angel. Love, Alexis Diaz. 

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