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Nonprofit Flies 2 Children From Bolivia To Denver For Open-Heart Surgery

DENVER (CBS4) - A 5-year-old girl and a 14-month old boy from Bolivia have come to Denver for open-heart surgery. Both have the same serious heart defect.

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Neither family could afford the operation to repair it in their home country, so doctors and staff at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children welcomed them.

"Can I listen? Puedo escuchar?" said Dr. Steve Leonard to 5-year-old Keily.

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Little Keily's heartbeat was just what Dr. Leonard likes to hear.

"Sounds great, no more murmur," He told Keily's mother, Keneth Beyuma Chavez.

For years, Beyuma Chavez has worried about her daughter's heart.

"Before the surgery, her heart sounds like someone was blowing," Beyuma Chavez told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh through an interpreter.

Keily had a ventricular septal defect (VSD), a hole in her heart, but her family couldn't get it fixed back home in Bolivia.

"We don't have a lot of money," said Beyuma Chavez. "So for people like us, it wasn't possible."

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(credit: Samaritan's Purse)

So the charity Samaritan's Purse stepped up. The nonprofit flew Keily and her mother to Denver and Leonard, pediatric heart surgeon at RMHC. In open heart surgery, he closed the hole and corrected two other defects.

"There are actually no bills for this patient," explained Leonard.

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The same goes for little Ismael. The 14-month-old also traveled from Bolivia to Denver to have a hole in his heart repaired. Carla Morales said her baby boy hasn't been growing normally.

"His life is going to be saved with this surgery," said Morales.

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Ismael's operation was initially postponed because he had a virus. It is now scheduled for April 23.

"Other than a scar on their chest, they should both have normal life," said Leonard.

The mothers are grateful for happy, healthy children.

"God's miracle," said Beyuma Chavez.

"From the bottom of my heart thank you and may God bless you," said a tearful Morales.

Their hearts are now filled with joy.

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