A FAMILY is in a desperate race against time to get their 11-month-old son, who was born with a large tumour in his heart, life-saving treatment.
Rafael Silva and wife Lina Griciute are needing to raise £140,000 to fly their son Gabriel to Boston, Massachusetts to undergo specialist open heart surgery.
The tot, from Crawley, West Sussex, was found to have a left ventricle fibroma when he was born in May last year – despite nothing being detected during pregnancy.
His family were told there have only been a handful of people in the UK diagnosed with this condition.
Doctors told the family that Gabriel could have just weeks to live and advised them to take lots of photographs and make memories.
The youngster has been on medication to keep the tumour at bay but has developed a condition called tachycardia arrhythmia.
This means that Gabriel’s heart beats abnormally fast at over 100 beats per minute, putting him at risk of sudden infant death.
He has also developed respiratory infections due to the mass pressing on the airways of the lungs.
Rafael, 30, spoke with specialists at Boston Children’s Hospital who are confident they could drastically improve Gabriel’s life or even cure him.
However, the family has been forced to set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the costs to help their son.
The fundraising page, set up two weeks ago, reads: “On 14/05/21 we received devastating news that our beautiful newborn baby had a large tumour in his heart (left ventricle fibroma) which only a handful of people have been diagnosed with in the UK.
“This came as a complete surprise to us all, nothing was detected throughout pregnancy.
“From that moment our lives changed in an instant.
“Gabriel had to go through numerous check ups and harsh medications which are still ongoing.
“As parents we are trying to stay strong and do not want to show any sign of weakness.
“I remember one of the doctors came in and told me it could be weeks, months or years.
“So just make the most of it and take lots of pictures for memories. His diagnosis is sudden infant death.
“One day Gabriel’s consultant asked if it was okay to send MRI images to Boston, after that day I was non stop trying to find more information non stop research trying to find a solution.
“Boston Children’s Hospital is the number one hospital in the world, has quoted us £140,000 for debulk or resection of the ventricular fibroma.
“The cardiac surgeons at Boston are the best cardiac surgeons in the world and they have done this operation several times.
“They are confident that they can drastically improve or even cure our little angel Gabriel.”
Speaking today, Rafael said: “Of course I am worried because it is a complex operation, it’s open heart surgery.
“It is the only way to save his life, having the surgery means my son can have a normal life and play football, swim and do sports to be free without any harsh medications.
“When the tumour is gone, then the risk of sudden infant death syndrome is gone.
“His birthday is in two weeks and the best gift he could have is the surgery.”
The GoFundMe page currently sits at just over £14,000.
To donate, please visit https://gofund.me/b491c3e7