(CNN) – When Michael, a 14-month-old baby, began to wake up from a five-day coma, he recognized his father and smiled in a beautiful way that only babies can do it.
"It's a moment that I will appreciate with every inch of my heart," Emma Labuschagne, Michael's mother, told CNN. “To be honest, it has to be the happiest moment of my life. It is a living miracle and we have never felt more proud of it. ”
Michael's parents, Emma and Stuart Labuschagne, said they were horrified when they discovered that their baby had stopped breathing in the early hours of March 16.RELATED
Michael suffered a cardiac arrest at home, and paramedics resuscitated him with a defibrillator and injected him with adrenaline to stabilize his heartbeat.
When they arrived at the hospital, doctors placed Michael in a medically induced coma to protect his brain from further damage.
He was diagnosed with a rare tumor
The Labuschagne, who have two other children and live in the United Kingdom, learned that Michael has a cardiac fibroid, a tumor that can block the flow of blood to a child's heart. Michael's tumor is 5 centimeters, or about 2 inches, wide. That's huge compared to a baby's little heart, which is about the size of his fist.
Doctors told the family that Michael's condition is so rare that no surgeon in the United Kingdom would have the necessary experience to remove his tumor.
Emma said the family was given two options: wait for a heart transplant or find a surgeon outside the country.
It was then that they discovered the Boston Children's Hospital, a US facility. whose C ardiac Tumor Program has a 100% survival rate in the last 10 years.
"We investigated the hospital and specifically the cardiac surgeons, Dr. (Pedro) del Nido and Dr. (Tal) Geva," Emma told CNN. “They have a 100% success rate and an exceptional reputation. From this moment we knew we had to try to make this trip. ”
The trip was not cheap
Emma said the hospital's price for surgery is approximately US $ 147,000. This does not include other expenses such as travel, lost work days and recovery costs.
The Labuschagne say they are determined to give Michael the treatment he needs, regardless of the cost.
"When we received a response from Boston confirming that he would be a good candidate for surgery, it didn't matter the cost," Emma said. "We would pay any amount of money to save the lives of our children."
As soon as they received the hospital estimate, Emma opened a GoFundMe account to raise funds for the surgery.
She said the public response has been overwhelming.
"We've had supporters and donations from around the world!" He said. "We are incredibly grateful!"
Michael has an internal defibrillator and a pacemaker to support the functioning of his heart. Emma told CNN that her medication should be given four times a day and that it often causes side effects such as stomachaches, diarrhea and skin sensitivity that prevent her from going out in the sun.
The family expects to travel to the United States for surgery in April. For now, they enjoy their time with the baby and try to juggle their medical needs.
"Looking at it, it's like any other baby," Emma said. “He is always smiling and smiling broadly. His older brothers love him and he is a strong little character in our family. We are very grateful for him, even with his medical problems. ”