Feel-Good Friday: A Single Mom Gets the Gift of a Heart Transplant, Just in Time for Christmas

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Merry Christmas Eve! I cannot imagine having to be away from your own child during this special season, let alone that child facing the possibility that there may not be additional Christmases to look forward to. But this is what young Alfredo De la Cruz faced in 2019, when his mother, Victoria Guajardo suffered a heart attack at the age of 27.

From local ABC13 in Texas:

Victoria Guajardo had spent much of the last two years separated from her 9-year-old son, Alfredo De la Cruz.

“I was sad when she was transferred to Houston,” Alfredo told ABC13. “I couldn’t be with her.”

He couldn’t be with her because her heart was failing. At just 27, Guajardo suffered a heart attack and her heart would not pump. A hospital in her town of Harlingen, Texas told her they could save her, but things did not go as well as they thought.

“(Doctors) did an open heart surgery where my heart stopped twice,” Guajardo recalled. “So that’s when they decided they were not able to do anything else for me, so they transferred me to Houston.”

Guajardo was on the transplant list for two years. Thanks to the care of the doctors at Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, she was installed with a heart pump which helped to keep her alive while she waited.

From there, Guajardo went to Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center and they gave her hope. Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Ismael Salas and a team of physicians installed a pump. Then they got Guajardo on the list for a transplant.

“She is a really good person and a fighter,” Salas said. “I’m very proud of all our team. This is a case where many people will give up or don’t move forward.”

Guajardo was moved off the list in October, when she received a new heart.

She does not know whose heart is beating in her chest but is she’s very grateful to the donor.

“I’m very grateful for (the donor),” Guajardo expressed. “For them, for their family. It’s bittersweet. It’s a blessing to have a new heart this Christmas.”

And a blessing to be with 9-year-old Alfredo, and the rest of the Guajardo and De la Cruz families, who get to celebrate not only Victoria Guajardo’s new heart and life, but the Christmas season together again.