MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A young soccer fan in need of a heart transplant asked the public for a little love and support in the form of Panini stickers.
For 5-year-old Jaime, summer was supposed to mean one thing: non-stop soccer.
A huge FIFA fan, he was looking forward to cheering for his favorite team from his home country, Mexico, in the World Cup.
Instead, the boy who now lives in Homestead ended up at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood this month in need of a new heart.
“Jaime has dilated cardiomyopathy, which is the inability of the heart to function properly,” Dr. Maryanne Chrisant of the Pediatric Heart Transplant Program at JDCH explained. “The heart muscle itself is very weak.”
Doctors gave Jaime a “Berlin Heart”, or an artificial heart, which will do the work of his ailing organ while he waits for a new one.
Unfortunately for Jaime’s family, his condition is one they already know too much about.
“He did have a younger sister who died several years ago from this same condition,” Dr. Chrisant said.
As the family fights to keep Jaime’s heart beating, the little boy hopes you can help keep his passion for soccer alive and kicking.
“As a 5 year old, he’d much rather be outside running and playing soccer than he would sitting here in a hospital room cooped up like this,” Chrisant said of the boy she described as stoic and patient. “But he also understands that he’s sick. He’s been sick his whole life.”
Jaime is collecting “Panini stickers”, featuring the faces of his favorite players, and he’s hoping to get a lot more.
In response to our original story, Panini America tweeted “That little dude is a true champion. We’re on the case.”
The hospital posted a photo showing all kinds of cool soccer gear already pouring in for Jaime.
The hope is each new sticker or soccer ball, will bring joy to a boy who’s already felt so much pain, and give him something to look forward to once his heart is healed.
“Hopefully, post-transplant he’ll be the one out there playing soccer,” Dr. Chrisant said.
To help add to Jaime’s collection, send stickers and other donations to:
Jaime, C/O Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation
3711 Garfield St.
Hollywood, FL 33021
To learn more about how you can help, click here.
Watch Lauren Pastran’s report, click here.
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