Boy with a hole in his heart needs help

BY IAN PAUL CORDERO

February 14, 2018

HAVE A HEART. Eight-year-old Elldin Allen Llanera of Jaro, Iloilo City has a hole in his heart. To raise funds for his operation, his family makes and sells heart-shaped coin banks. Each coin bank is painted red and bears letter stickers that read, “Be Careful with My Heart.” IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

ILOILO City – This Valentine’s Day, help make Allen’s heart whole.

His family is raising funds for a surgery aimed at resolving a congenital heart disease of the eight-year-old Elldin Allen Llanera of Barangay Ungka, Jaro district.

They need as much as P1.2 million, according to Allen’s mother, Nadin.

To come up with the needed amount, Nadin said their family is selling heart-shaped coin banks at P250 each.

Allen has a tetralogy of Fallot, a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart.

Considered a critical congenital heart defect, this can cause oxygen in the blood that flows to the rest of the body to be reduced, according to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Infants with this defect can have a bluish-looking skin color – called cyanosis – because their blood doesn’t carry enough oxygen, the CDC said.

Nadin told Panay News she and husband Eduardo were shocked when they found out about the heart defect when Allen, the first of their two children, was only four months old.

“At the time, we would rather not talk about it because every time we do we both end up breaking down,” she said in Hiligaynon.

Allen – as he was popularly called in a television magazine show he was recently featured in – needed to undergo multiple surgeries.

The boy had undergone initial operation in February last year at the Philippine Heart Center in Metro Manila. The family spent around P800,000.

Allen might undergo the major part of his needed surgery between August and October this year, Nadin said, and they need between P800,000 and P1.2 million.

“We’re doing our best to come up with that amount,” she said. “Aside from his treatment, we still have outstanding balances.”

Nadin said the idea of creating and selling heart-shaped coin banks to raise funds for their son’s surgery came from Eduardo and his family who used to be engaged in such business.

The coin banks come in different shapes and designs “but my husband chose the heart shape…because our son has a heart disease,” she said.

Each coin bank is painted red and bears letter stickers that read, “Be Careful with My Heart.”

In the television magazine show that recently featured Allen, it was said that the family was able to produce and sell 500 coin banks and raise around P100,000.

Interviewed for that show, Eduardo said he would do everything for his son.

“I’m willing to make all kinds of sacrifices for my family,” he said in Hiligaynon. “I don’t mind just working and not getting any sleep if that would make life easier for them.”

A pediatric cardiologist interviewed for the show, Dr. Mae Dago-oc, said children with a condition similar to Allen’s may not reach adolescence.

“They may die for lack of oxygen that their body organs need to grow and function” – hence, the need for the immediate treatment – Dr. Dago-oc said.

Nadin told Panay News that, aside from encouraging people to buy their heart-shaped coin banks, they are asking for prayers.

“We may be able to eventually raise more than enough money, but if God wants to take Allen, He will take him,” she said. “Still, we need prayers that my son would survive.”

Allen trended on Twitter just this Jan. after 21-year-old Krizza Mel Hilay shared a Facebook post telling Allen’s story to the micro-blogging site. The tweet came with the hashtag #HoleToWhole./PN