LUCKY'S NEW HEART
Sunday night was a big hit! We celebrated Lucky's New Heart on his 1st birthday at the La Lune restaurant in Long Beach. Lucky, of course, was the center of attention. All our good-hearted guests, community leaders, relatives and friends had their pictures taken with him.playing and touching the toddler all night long. Close to two hundred guests attended. The night was full of joy, food, drink, music and in-kind donations.
Mrs. Jean Marie Van Dine, a teacher from Millikan High school in Long Beach, pre- sented a check in the amount of $800 to Hearts Without Boundaries--the funds collected from students in her class called "For One Love." Another teacher, Ms. Domani Kem, from Dexter Middle School in Long Beach presented a check in the amount of $215 that she collected from her students to support our cause. Dany Kuon, a representative of Khmer Student Coalition (KSC) which is comprised of 10 different Universities in Cali- fornia, presented a check in the amount of $430. What a Night! This overwhelming support speaks volumes. I could not have asked for a better evening.
The evening also allowed our community to meet Susan Grossfeld and her husband Dr. Paul Grossfeld, a cardiologist from Rady Children?s Hospital in San Diego, who spear- headed three heart surgery missions at Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap-- sponsored by Variety Children Lifeline. Their cardiac team from UCSD/Rady Chil- dren?s Hospital in San Diego, performed 55 heart surgeries on children suffering from patent ductus arterious (PDA), a leaky-heart condition that causes the lungs to fill with blood. Most children with this condition will die prematurely. Hearts Without Bounda- ries was there to assist this life-saving heart surgeries. Susan and her husband also helped broker the deal with Sunrise Children?s Hospital in Las Vegas for Lucky?s open- heart surgery. What a great couple!
The next day, after a 1½ hour drive on a wet and cold December afternoon, Lucky and his entourage arrived at the x-ray department at Rady Children?s Hospital in San Diego. After having two x-rays done, they walked a few blocks to Dr. Paul Grosseld?s office. Dr. Grossfeld is now taking over the post-operative examinations from Dr. Evans in Las Vegas. Both doctors agreed that Las Vegas is too far a drive for Lucky.
"After we turned the corner," David Kem said, "Paul and Susan were outside waiting for us." They greeted each other with warm hugs and with Cambodian traditional Chum Reap Suor (pressing their two palms against their chest). Susan said, "Thank you for inviting us last night. that was by far one of the best banquets we have ever been to." On the way to the cardiology department, a Cambodian-American nurse named Sally welcomed them. She was so pleased to meet Lucky and his family.
Just outside the department, Susan asked the family if Lucky knew how to walk. David said, "I think he?s beginning to prepare himself." Right away, Susan dropped down on her knees and held Lucky?s hands. Lucky smiled at her briefly as she aided him to take his first baby steps. Everyone was so pleased.
After seeing Lucky?s echocardiogram, Dr. Grossfeld told the family, "Everything looks perfect. The echo looks good. No more medications are needed. No more signs of fluid building up. After 6 months, Lucky will be able to do normal activities." After hearing the good news, David, his sister and Lucky?s mother, Ratha, felt so relieved. Dr. Grossfeld added, "After 6 months, I think Lucky will be ready to play in the NFL. or should I say Cambodian football!" Everyone laughed.
The family thanked Dr. Grossfeld and Susan for their kindness. Before hugging good- bye, Dr. Grossfield reminded the family that he needed to see Lucky again in one month. It was now late in the evening as the group got in the car--a long drive back to Long Beach awaiting them.
As of this writing, Lucky's story continues to be broadcasted by numerous local TV stations.
Today, it was seen in Los Angeles on Channel 4 during their midday newscast.