MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - History is in the making at Le Bonheur, where the first Cuban child will have heart surgery in the United States since Fidel Castro took power.
The child receiving that surgery is Yaimara Hernandez's son, Manuel. Manuel is only three years old. Like many kids his age, he loves to play with his mom. A condition he has threatens that, however. It does not allow enough blood flow and oxygen to his heart. In his home country of Cuba, the surgery to fix the condition is risky.
"Less surgeries, less complications. In Cuba, more surgeries, more complications," said Manuel's mother Yaimara Hernandez.
Brett Rodriguez, with the International Children's Heart Foundation, heard about the family's plight and decided to step in. He collaborated with several other groups to fly Manuel to Memphis to get life-saving surgery.
"Cooperation with International Children's Heart Foundation, Le Bonheur and Mid-South Gift of Life, we've pieced this together" says Rodriguez.
So on Thursday, doctors at Le Bonheur will perform that surgery. It's surgery the three-year-old's mom Yaimara Hernandez even recently did not think was possible.
"He is going to have a quality of life and will allow him to do everything he wants to do," Hernandez said.
After surgery, Manuel will spend about a month recovering before he returns to Cuba, where he's expected to live a full and normal life.