What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Shanae Barragan's heart condition wasn't something doctors commonly encounter in developed countries, but they persisted in finding a solution. They landed on the Ozaki procedure, which uses a patient's own pericardium.
• The surgery gave Shanae a new lease on her young life and highlights the importance of innovative medical technology. Should donors focus their dollars on research that finds new ways to treat patients?
• Interested in more information about cardiovascular health? FiveThirtyEight breaks down heart disease data in this piece.
As she watched her daughter being wheeled into the operating room, a striking memory overcame the flood of anxious thoughts going through Marisela Barragan’s mind.
“Just a few months before the heart surgery, my daughter Shanae was telling me how desperately she wanted to try out for her school’s volleyball team,” said Barragan. “Her doctors were advising against doing any type of strenuous sport because it could damage her heart, so I kept telling her ‘no.’”
“Then she turned to me and said, ‘Mom, please allow me to try out. If I’m going to die, I want to have done something in my life that I loved.’ Those words truly broke my heart.”
Barragan knew the only way her daughter could pursue volleyball along with her many athletic passions, like any other healthy 13-year-old, was to take a leap of faith with an innovative surgical technique that has only been performed on a small number of pediatric patients in the world. Called the Ozaki procedure, the complex surgical technique would help repair and put a stop to the disease that was causing ongoing damage to Shanae’s heart.
Read the full inspirational story on this innovative surgery by Anna Altavas at Seattle Children's Hospital Research Center