REDWOOD CITY, California – All Mary Grace Demafeliz could now wish is to have more days to tell her two-year-old son Dave Gabriel how much she loved him.
But her boy died unexpectedly Monday night, four days after he underwent heart surgery at the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
"Baby Dave" was the first candidate from the Philippines that was brought to the US by HeartGift Foundation to receive free treatment for his heart defect.
"Sabi ng mga doctor sa akin, 'don't give up on your son because we won’t give up on him.' Pinalalakas nila yung loob ko. Nakita ko naman sa kanila na ginagawa nila ang lahat para humaba ang buhay ng anak ko," Demafeliz said.
The HeartGift Foundation has not released an official statement as to how Baby Dave lost his life.
On Tuesday night, the Houston Royal Oaks Lion Club and the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce in Texas offered a novena for baby Dave.
"We are doing this so Mary Grace and the family will know that they are not alone in this journey," said Maria Emee Nisnisan.
"To the mother of David, I salute you. You did a valiant fight," said Annie Pajarillo, a medical doctor.
Demafeliz told Balitang America that the doctors and nurses of Baby Dave in Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston did all their best to help her son survive.
"Every surgical procedure has its risks. Unfortunately, people react differently to a procedure that others may be able to keep up with," said Vincent Texon, a registered nurse.
The Filipino community in Texas plans to continue raising funds for Baby Dave’s family and for the HeartGift Foundation, which has helped hundreds of children from all over the world.
Demafeliz said parents should tell their kids how much they love them every single day.
"Sa mga nanay na hanggang ngayon kapiling nyo po ang mga anak nyo, wag nyong palipasin ang araw na sabihin sa kanilang mahal na mahal nyo ang anak nyo, yakapin nyo sila," she said.
Read more from Balitang America.