Community Pitches in to Help Local Teen who Needs a New Heart

SACRAMENTO -- A local 13-year-old boy suffering from a rare condition is now in desperate need of a new heart.

Brandon was at a county fair when doctors called his mother, Adriana Aguilar, and told her what they had found. She had to tell him he could no longer ride the rides and had to stop playing soccer.

“Because every time she sees him, her heart breaks,” Aguilar's translator explained.

Brandon suffers from restrictive cardiomyopathy.

A year ago, Brandon's mother found a small lump on his back, which prompted X-rays. As it turned out, those X-rays may have saved her son’s life.

In August of last year, doctors discovered Brandon’s heart could not fill up with blood and pump it out normally. Eventually, he could die. He would need a transplant.

“When he goes to school, that's the problem. She starts thinking what about something happens to him and he just dies in that moment?” Aguilar said through her translator.

Since the discovery, Aguilar said she has had to take Brandon back and forth to Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto. Some months he requires up to 10 visits.

Costs of gas, travel and medications can add up but the family is getting help from an unlikely place.

“My heart crushed into pieces. I was like 13 years old, little guy, he needs a heart transplant,” said Ricardo Sibrian, the owner of Sacramento Café & Brew.

Sibrian does not know Brandon’s family but heard about them through a friend. He is now setting times aside at his restaurant when all proceeds will go to help Brandon.

Michael Harris, a local cook, is helping in that effort.

“I was anxious, like, I have to help do something. I have to help do something,” he said.

“Something happens, everybody goes to support each other,” Sibrian said.

After Brandon eventually undergoes a 16-hour transplant operation, Aguilar said her son will require 45 days in bed and six months of follow-ups. He will need to take costly medications for the rest of his life.

But his family continues to find strength in each other.

“She had a decision to be strong, to motivate him,” Aguilar’s translator said.

There is no date set for Brandon's transplant surgery. His mother said he is now second on a waiting list.

This Friday, Sacramento Café & Brew is donating all the money they make after 5 p.m. to Brandon’s family.

A family friend has also set up a GoFundMe page if you would like to help.

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