Young heart patient helps others this holiday season - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Young heart patient helps others this holiday season

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LOS ANGELES -

Maceo Alvarez, 6, is giving Santa a little extra help this year. He and his family are using their living room to sort the hundreds of donated presents they've collected as part of their toy drive for sick children in Los Angeles.

Reporter: Why did you want to do something special for them?

Maceo: Because they are not going to get to go home.

Reporter: And you know what that feels like?

Maceo: (nods yes)

Maceo suffers from a heart defect called tricuspid artesia and has spent nearly every Christmas in the hospital. His mother, Monique Esparza, was by his side for all 13 of his surgeries.

Monique Esparza: He was in a coma last October and we were told to call our families so they could make their final goodbyes, that he would not make it through the morning. Three days later he did what he always has and came back smiling.

Reporter: How do you explain that?

Monique Esparza: Faith. It's all faith.

Maceo was born with a rare condition. He has only one fully functioning chamber in his heart. To fix the problem, surgeons had to reroute his blood.

"Creating the normal flow that you and I have without that pumping chamber in between," said Dr. Cheryl Takao of Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Maceo also has a pacemaker to regulate his heartbeat.

This year, he will get to spend Christmas at home.

"There's nothing more a mom can ask for," Esparza said.

Reporter: What's it like to be home?

Maceo: You get to be with your family.

Maceo now hopes to spread some extra cheer when the presents are handed out to kids at Children's Hospital just before Christmas.

Doctors don't expect Maceo to need another surgery anytime soon, but he will have to get the battery replaced in his pacemaker over the next few years.

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