Save Baby Daniel!
In June, my cousin had a surgery and developed a staff infection that was so serious, he was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Los Angles, where he received life-saving medical treatment. While my cousin was recovering, I spent a lot of time with my Aunt Delores, walking the baby up and down the halls of the hospital. That’s were we had our fateful meeting with Ilda and Baby Daniel.
Ilda and her husband, Daniel Sr., had been at Children’s Hospital around the clock for months before we met them. Their baby was suffering from Biliary Artesia, a medical condition that is terminal without a liver transplant. Ilda told us that her and her husband were both matches, and were willing to be live donors.
So what was the hold up?
They couldn’t come up with the $350,000 it would cost to perform the surgery.
They were young, in a foreign country, and there was no way they could come up with enough money to save their baby’s life.
My aunt and I were sick to our stomachs when we found out that the only thing standing in the way of saving this baby’s life was $350,000. It was unbelievable. It was so obvious how much these parents loved their child. They left their country and eveything they knew because San Pedro didn’t have the facilities to perform the surgery. As Ilda told us the story, we were racking our brains trying to think of someone we knew who would donate this money.
We talked it over when we got back to the room, and cried because we felt like there was no way we could help them. My cousin was released after a few more days, and my aunt went to Santa Barbara, but we couldn’t stop thinking about Baby Daniel.
When I told their story to my friend Leigh, he said, “Why don’t you have a fundraiser at your brother’s house?” He was the first person to have that reaction. Everyone else had shaken their heads, saying, “What a shame!” Leigh suggested we start a facebook group, my Aunt Delores called the hospital to get in touch with Ilda, and the whole thing snowballed from there.
Looking back, raising that much money in the short window the baby had to still be eligible for a transplant seemed ludicrous.
We didn’t stop to think about it because we were driven by love for this amazing family. My aunt, Delores Kislow, and I went to the hospital to meet with Daniel and Ilda to get all the paperwork and to brainstorm on how to raise the funds. That’s when we found out that they were staying with a friend so far away that they had to travel on LA’s public transportaion system for over an hour each way. We moved the Guerro’s into the apartment I share with my sister, which was about a mile away from the hospital. Ilda’s mom flew out to join them, and they quickly became like family to us.
Within two weeks, Leigh and I started a Facebook Page (which you can find here) to raise awareness, and to spread the word about the upcoming fundraiser at my brother Marc’s. Within a few days, over 800 people joind and began to ask the parents for ways to make donations. Supporters contacted people they knew at KTLA and Telemundo who were inspired by the story and featured interviews with the parents.
Here’s a video that was aired of Ilda asking for help:
Within a few days, over 800 people joined the Facebook Group and began to ask Ilda and Daniel for a way to help.
Donations started pouring in from all over the world!
The response was overwhelming. Total strangers would come up to us when we were in the waiting room at CHLA, to give Daniel and Ilda a hug. Then, they’d slip them some cash. $20, $5, $2. People wanted to help in any way they could. They wanted to help save Baby Daniel’s life.
The people of San Pedro mobilized.
You can read about the tireless efforts of the community as the pulled together to raise funds in the San Pedro Sun.
In less than two months, we raised over $250,000! A donor from England provided a medical airplane for the baby to be flown to Columbia, to a hospital where doctors were willing to perform the transplant. On August 14th a team of doctors extracted part of Daniel Sr.’s liver and successfully performed the transplant, finally allowing this devoted father to save his baby’s life.
Doctors excitedly told Ilda and Daniel that their baby was going to make a full recovery. Baby Daniel is going to live a normal life.
His rate of recovery has been unbelievable.
Here’s a picture of Baby Daniel smiling, for one of the first time in months, after the surgery was completed.
And our Little Monkey on his first birthday.
Look at that smile!
And here’s a picture of Baby Daniel today, December 20th, when he finally returned home.
This story has a happy ending.Baby Daniel and his family are back in their beloved home in San Pedro, Belize. We are so grateful and feel so very blessed.
We still need your help and support.
By the time Daniel was flown to Columbia to receive the transplant, he was much sicker than the doctors had anticipated. His recovery has been more costly than was originally projected.
We still need to raise $60,000 over then next few months for Baby Daniel’s medical bills. Your donation would go towards the hospital fees. $60,000 shouldn’t feel undoable when people have already given so much. Except that people tend to feel much more of a pull on their heartstrings when it’s a life or death situation, as opposed to follow-up care. There is no doubt in my mind that we can do it, but we are looking for ways to spread the word to more and more people.
There are two ways that you can donate.
1. Through Wachovia Acct # 10 10 166 397 743 When using this account, you must use Daniel Guerrero (Baby Daniel’s Granddad) as the username.
2. Through PayPal.com, at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are not familiar with PayPal.com, here are instructions on how to donate.
Looking back, I am touched and filled with gratitude that so many people joined together to save Baby Daniel’s life. Many of you have never met this extraordinary family and were still moved to be so generous. It takes my breath away every time I think about it. I am proud to be a part of this community. I know that we will find even more supporters that will donate to keep this baby healthy.
Thank you, in advance, for spreading the word.
With much love and appreciation,
Melissa, Megan, Patrick, and Queenie