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  • My nephew, Gilby, turns six years-old on December 26th. This past Tuesday he had his third open-heart surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

    Very early Friday morning my brother called me. It was an emergency. He asked me to meet him at CHOP. I got there at around 3:00 am. My brother and my sister-in-law were in the family waiting room. They were crying. A complication developed. My nephew went into cardiac arrest. He was on a heart/lung bypass machine. Things didn't look good. A team of clinicians were attending to Gilby. They are the best in the world. We could only wait.

    In the hallway there is a display where people can write, onto a paper heart, a special gift they either wish for or a gift to give another person. These hearts were then taped to the hallway window.
  • I tried to picture the people who wrote these hearts. Were they like me? Were they adults or children? Visitors or family? Maybe they were patients.
  • Reading these gift requests I thought of the pain these people must be going through.
  • There were wishes for health, food, family, and toys.
  • People are here for the kids. SIck kids with cardiac issues.
  • I feel pain for every one of the kids. I can't stop thinking about them.
  • It's a special time of year. For children, it's magical.
  • The doctors and nurses at CHOP perform magic. No matter what time of year.
  • During the drive to CHOP I couldn't stop thinking about my brother. The emotions and pain.
  • I felt very selfish walking into the hospital and up to the cardiac intensive care unit. These hearts are helping alleviate my selfishness. These poor people. Sadness emanates. So does hope.
  • The gift I want is for Gilby to recover. I don't know what will happen.
  • Gilby is a good little boy. I am lucky to have him as my nephew. I love him.

    The gift I received is the one that I've had for the past six years. I value that gift now more than ever.

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