Meet Yassen, your 2018 Patient Hero for the Betty Irene Moore Children's Heart Center
When asked what he’d like to say to donors who support Summer Scamper and Packard Children’s, Yassen simply says, “I love you.”
The 6-year-old’s personality is twice as big as he is—Yassen easily gets a room full of adults laughing with his witty responses and funny sayings. He introduced his little sister, 1-year-old Raneem, as his “stinky baby”. When asked what he was learning in pre-kindergarten at the Hospital School he said, “It’s a secret.”
Yassen’s mom, Hagar, was 5 months pregnant when prenatal screening found an issue with Yassen’s heart: it only had three chambers.
At the time, the family lived in Texas, and Yassen underwent the first of what was supposed to be two surgeries to repair his heart. A second surgery, performed at a hospital in California, was not successful, and soon after, it was discovered that one of his heart valves was leaking. The family moved again, to yet another hospital, which ultimately determined that Yassen’s situation had become so dire that he needed the expert care only available at Packard Children’s.
Yassen and his mother—who at the time was pregnant with Raneem—were flown by air ambulance to Packard Children’s, where the Betty Irene Moore Children’s Heart Center is renowned for its 97.3% survival rate.
Yassen’s care team at Packard Children’s stabilized his heart rate for a while using medications that were fed into his body 24/7 using an IV. He couldn’t be far from the hospital, but at one point he and Hagar were able to move down the street into the Ronald McDonald House. Unfortunately, the rapid heartbeats returned, and Yassen was readmitted to the hospital. Mahmoud, an aviation mechanic in the Navy, received approval to transfer again, this time to the Bay Area. It was the third time the family had moved to be near Yassen’s hospital.
“It was very hard,” Hagar says. “But it was better for Yassen, so that whatever was better for him, we accepted. Everyone was so helpful and tried to make us comfortable as we stayed in the hospital for a long time.”
Mahmoud added, “We had good staff, great doctors, and the atmosphere was pretty friendly.”
As the family waited for a new heart for Yassen, they watched the new Main building at Packard Children’s take shape, and were excited to hear that they would be part of the official Patient Move to the brand-new hospital.
Then, just days before the move, Yassen got the news: he wasn’t going anywhere on Patient Move Day. Instead, he was getting a new heart!
Yassen is #WhyWeScamper.
Register today for the 8th annual Summer Scamper on Sunday, June 24, 2018, and support care, comfort, and cures for more kids like Yassen.