A heart for Isabel

Mickey Mouse holds Isabel Siqueiros’ hand as they stroll through the crowd at the fundraiser for the 2-year-old March 24 in the Select Auto Glass parking lot.

It was a beautiful, sunshiny day with the temperature a mild 75 degrees. Smiles shone on the faces of people gathered March 24 to drum up support for a 2-year-old with a broken heart.

There she was holding hands with Mickey Mouse and shyly walking through the crowd, while other children ran to the Disney character vying for his attention.

Sweet Isabel Siqueiros had been up for hours and her mother, Sara, mentioned it may be time for her little girl to rest for a while.

“By evening she gets really tired,” Sara said. “But for the most part, she’s just a 2-year-old.”

Isabel needs a new heart. Sara and Jason Siqueiros learned of their young daughter’s diagnosis Jan. 17, just days after her second birthday. Her troubles began the day after Christmas, her mother said.

“It was like a cold,” Sara said.

Isabel got better, but Jan. 4, “she started getting sick again,” Sara said. “She had a cough, fatigue.”

A trip to the pediatrician resulted in a diagnosis of croup, but four days later, her condition worsened. This time, an EKG reading came back abnormal, Sara said, with tests conducted the next day determining Isabel was experiencing heart failure. Sara said the doctor told her Isabel needed a pacemaker, or worse, a heart transplant.

“We thought she had pneumonia,” Sara said.

Word spread, and the day after Isabel went home from the hospital, the Siquieroses received notice their house needed painting. Not to worry. The homeowners association extended the deadline for painting until April. Plus, city employees got together to help with the paint brushes and rollers.

The Siqueiroses have been told Isabel’s condition could get worse.

So, the Siqueiros family waits. Isabel is on the transplant list as a 1B, which means she has heart failure, is not on medication because only a transplant can help her now. Patients on the 1A list are children in the hospital on life support.

Sara said she and her husband are fortunate to have insurance because they have been told Isabel’s heart transplant will probably cost them $100,000, with insurance covering the remainder. Jason said that’s just the initial cost; Isabel will require medication for the rest of her life once the transplant operation takes place.

At the fundraiser, Isabel’s twin 4-month-old brothers, Jason and Jaxon, were already sleeping under a tent, while their grandmother, Alice Estrada, minded their stroller.

Select Auto Glass stepped up to provide the space for the fundraiser, while other businesses donated raffle and silent auction items. A barbecue station served food and the city’s employee union, AFSCME Local 3282, provided a painting activity for children. David Bell of Advant-Edge Landscaping donated three garden ornaments. And the person who won the 50-50 raffle was rumored to have given it all back to Isabel’s fund.

Individuals interested in donating to Isabel’s fund can go online at www.cotaforisabels.com.