9th Annual Rady Children's Hospital Family Walk

MARRIOTT MARQUIS SAN DIEGO MARINA

Join our team and help kids like Eric and Raul!

Fraternal twins Eric and Raul Montaño share a special bond – and something remarkable. Both suffered from the same heart condition, and both received new hearts this year at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.

Shortly after their birth, doctors discovered that Eric had restrictive cardiomyopathy, a disease in which the heart walls become stiff and limit the heart from filling with blood properly. As the disease progressed, Eric became limited in what he could do, including participating in sports and playing with friends.

Raul was diagnosed when he was about 8. During exercise, he had difficulty keeping up, shortness of breath and chest pain.

Both boys were put on the heart transplant waiting list, and Eric had become quite sick. Then, on Jan. 14, the family received the call they had been hoping for; Eric, now 11, would be getting a new heart. He would also be Rady Children’s first heart transplant patient.

The carefully timed operation involved transporting the donor heart to Rady Children’s from another state and then, moments after the new heart arrived, removing Eric’s failing heart and replacing it with the healthy donor heart. The surgery, performed by transplant surgical director Eric Devaney, M.D., and cardiac surgeon Daniel DiBardino, M.D., took six hours from start to finish.

“There are no words. I can’t express myself,” said they boys’ mom, Alma, after the surgery. “My son has a new life, a new heart, and we’re just so grateful and thankful.” Raul had his surgery about two months later.

Although heart transplant patients must take medication for the rest of their lives, most are able lead normal lives, return to school full time and participate in activities they were unable to do before the transplant.

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