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Children from Honduras get needed heart surgery

By Tori Shaw
Published On: Nov 26 2012 05:04:28 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 26 2012 05:05:21 PM CST
GREENVILLE -

They may not be able to speak English but a smile is understood in any language.  Seven-year-old, Ronaldo Ramirez, and 10-year-old, Brenda Flores, came to the US from Honduras to get surgery for their defective hearts.

"They both had a hole in the wall of their hearts, and blockages of blood flow to the lungs where you collect oxygen," said Dr. Charlie Sang, Professor of Pediatrics and Section Head of Pediatrics and Cardiology at ECU Heart Institute.

With low oxygen levels, Ramirez and Flores would get tired very easily. Now, they are bouncing off the walls.

"He has more energy, and he is gaining a lot of weight," said Ramirez's mother, Martha.

"When Brenda got off the airplane she was in a stroller because she was too weak to walk.  Now, she is running and racing Ronaldo," said Chuck Barber, who is the host family for the visitors.

Flores's mother noticed the color of her daughter's face after the surgery.

"Before, the surgery she was blue.  Now, she is more pink," said Flores's mother, Rosa.

Doctors say if Ronaldo and Brenda did not have the surgery to fix their hearts.  They would not live past 20 years of age.