My name is Elias Itzep Sontay and I am running the 2018 United Airlines NYC half-marathon to show support for those battling heart diseases as well Harboring Hearts, who works with them and their families to provide them support during this time.
My son, Franco Itzep is currently 4 years and 3 months. When my wife was pregnant with Franco, we started all the normal check-ups and everything else that a pregnancy involves. Five months later, in an echocardiogram, the doctors noticed something was not normal with his heart. When we were told his diagnosis (Tricuspid Atresia), we were devastated. We were told that he was going to have 3 open heart surgeries.
It was hard for us and our family to go through this time of waiting, days in and out of the hospital, tests, scans, and surgeries. These procedures also meant days off from work, expenses that piled on and just the emotional strain my wife and I went through to know what are the next steps. We felt so helpless seeing Franco going through all these.
In May 2017, Franco received the last of his three open heart surgeries, the Fontan. He is doing amazing and growing up like any other child thanks to the wonderful doctors and hospital staff at Mount Sinai and the support of our families and friends!
We are so happy that organizations such as Harboring Hearts exist to help provide families like ours with critical emotional and financial support. Join me in helping other families like mine, by donating to the mission of the organization which is: to re-inspire hope and improve the patient's outlook on life by providing emergency housing grants and other critical resources to heart patients and their families. My goal is to raise $2,500 dollars which will go directly to help heart patients and their families in their time of need.