A Miracle Paying It Forward

 A story of hope and becoming a beacon of light to others. By Mark Edenburn

Seventy years ago I was not expected to live to school age. I was born a “blue baby”—a child with a malformed heart unable to pump sufficient oxygen to the lungs. Day by day, this hole in my heart was robbing me of energy, breathing and life. Doctors said it was hopeless. By the time I was three, they predicted he would be bedridden. By five or six, I would likely be dead. I remember squatting a lot. My parents told me I was short winded and no energy prior to my surgery and I was always blue, especially my lips and fingernails.

But my parents, devout Catholics, never gave up hope. After hearing about a doctor and a self-trained medical technician who had developeda new heart procedure, they felt they’d found an answer—never mind that the procedure new and had been performed on only a few children. During October 1945, when I was two years and seven months, Dr. Helen Tausig, Dr. Alfred Blalock and Vivian Thomas of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland, literally brought me back to life by connecting the artery from my right arm to the pulmonary artery going to mylungs. This increased the percent of oxygen in my blood and I turned from blue to pink in a heartbeat. For the first time in my life, Iwas able to breathe freely.

My life is a miracle.I am now a healthy 73 years old. Iam computer specialist, entrepreneur, family man, devoted Catholic and constant volunteer with friends from everywhere.

As an active member of Rotary Club of Cebu, I have a special place in my heart (of course!) for the Gift of Life program, which provides life-saving surgery to children who, like me,are born with heart problems. I want to encourage the children we are helping to know that they can also live long, wonderful and productive lives.

Decades ago, children with heart problems had only the slimmest hope of growing up healthy. Today, sick children have all the hope in the world. And thanks to the Rotary Club’s Gift of Life program, even families in need can take advantage of the kind of heart surgery that first saved my life 70 years ago, and now saves countless young lives every day.