A Brentwood family came together to help a little boy they had never met, and he is now recovering from a life-saving procedure half a world away from home.
Three-year-old Ian from Uganda was born with a large hole between the pumping chambers in his heart and that allowed too much blood to go to the lungs.
Dr. Donald Moore, pediatric cardiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says that over time, the blood damages the lungs.
Most children with this condition undergo corrective surgery when they are between 4 and 6 months old, but Ian couldn't get that care in Uganda and was nearly inoperable.
But thanks to the program Children's Heart Project at Samaritan's Purse, the young boy and his aunt traveled to Nashville for the surgery.
While Vanderbilt doctors provided the medical care, the Allen family opened up their home while Ian undergoes his treatment.
And even though they'd never met him before he arrived back in May, they say it was deeply personal to invite him to stay.
"Jackson, our 7-year-old, was born with a heart defect and was taken to Vanderbilt Hospital, where they were able to correct it when he was six days old with open-heart surgery. So we've always had an attachment to Vanderbilt and what they can do there," said host family father J.R. Allen.
Now, little Ian and his family have a lifelong attachment to Vanderbilt as well.
Ian just had his check-up and is doing great. His aunt said she has a hard time believing he's come this far.
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