Baby Dave’s family receives support from TX Filipino community

By JV Villar, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

July 30, 2014

HOUSTON – It has been a week since two-year-old baby Dave Gabriel unexpectedly died after going through heart surgery at the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas.

Members of the Houston Royal Oaks Lion Club, who hosted “Baby Dave” and his mother upon their arrival from Bacolod City, Philippines last July 12, are once again coming together to aid the grieving mother.

Baby Dave would have turned three-years-old on Aug. 19.

“When things like this happen, we tend to question why did this happen,” said Houston Royal Oaks Lion’s Club President Stephen Okoronkwo. “My encouragement to the parents is that we have no control over things like that. God is the one who gives life and takes life as well. He knows best. I do sincerely believe that Dave is with God in heaven as an angel.”

Mary Grace Demafeliz, Baby Dave’s mother, told Balitang America that when Baby Dave turned two, his doctor in the Philippines told her that Baby Dave had to get heart surgery within six months.

Because time was running and Mary Grace was in need of financial support, she sought help from HeartGift Foundation to help correct the abnormality in Baby Dave’s heart. A medical selection team reviewed the case of Baby Dave and was determined that he was eligible to receive a free heart surgery in the US.

She had high hopes she would be able to bring her child back to the Philippines with a repaired heart and a new lease on life. She admits she was she was also aware of the risks involved in a heart surgery.

Mary Grace says that her husband is so disappointed and devastated that they lost their son.

But she made it clear that the hospital or HeartGift Foundation, which sponsored the free heart surgery, should not be blamed.

The hospital and foundation have yet to release a statement.

“Tinawagan ko yung asawa ko para sabihin nay un na nga wala na si Baby Dave,” said Mary Grace. “Ayong unang sinabi niya sa akin, bakit daw dinala ko pa sa Texas yung anak ko. Sana daw hindi ko na dinala para kasama pa niya hanging ngayon. Pinaliwanag ko naman sa kanya na bilang nanay, gusto mo lahat, gusto mo mapagaling anak mo para makasama pa siya naming ng matagal.”

A humanitarian visa is now being processed for Baby Dave’s father so he could immediately come to the US and be reunited with his wife during this difficult time. A memorial for Baby Dave is also being prepared by the community.

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