MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Five-year-old Jaime Ponce is hooked up to a Berlin heart, a tiny pump that maintains blood flow. He’s doing well on the machine and his spirits now? Amazing!
A huge FIFA fan, Jamie 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 collects “Panini stickers,” featuring the faces of his favorite players, and he hoped to get a lot more.
CBS4 alerted Panini stickers and did a story on the little boy and suddenly there was a tremendous response.
Panini America sticker company sent a box with stickers, a book, and shirts. The Aunt of a player from Mexico sent a huge box and also promised to send a signed jersey–which is on its way. Also Island Angels, a group from Key Biscayne, flooded Jaime with stickers but most importantly with all he received–Jaime was flooded with love.
His mother, who does not speak English, says she is overjoyed and overwhelmed, thanks to community support.
Jaime’s pediatrician, Dr. Pilar Gutierrez said, “This tells me you can do anything if you love a child you can do anything.”
The 5-year-old now has every sticker; one of each player playing in the World Cup. Jaime really wants to spend his summer outside playing soccer but, in the meantime, the stickers help in a tremendous way.
Jaime’s heart surgeon, Dr. Steven Bibevski said, “The spirit can be broken and it’s important for people to realize it’s not ethereal. It is real and makes a world of difference to him.”
Science is doing its part and the community is doing their part to put Jaime in the best place possible, mentally and physically, as he awaits a transplant. His favorite team is Mexico. Now that they are out of the running, he’s decided to pull for Argentina.
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