Heart Patients Enjoy Celebration of Life

HONOLULU (KHNL) --  It was a day to celebrate life for children with various heart conditions.

Monday, the cardiac kids and their families enjoyed a day of fun at their annual Valentine's Day party.

Games, arts and crafts and dancing; all part of the celebration.

Many of these children were treated during one of five "heart weeks", held annually by Kapiolani Medical Center for women and children.

The program brings leading heart specialists from the mainland to work alongside pediatric cardiologists here. It's a program parents of heart patients hope will continue.

"It will be good, that way we won't have to fly out to other places. If our doctors can gain that much knowledge as the mainland doctors then it would be really good," said parent Breezie Agunialzo.

The program began at Kapiolani in 1995 when it first performed open heart surgery. Today they perform some of the most technologically advanced pediatric heart procedures available.

"We're able to perform waht we call minimally invasive procedures to correct cardiac defects and that allows some of our children to go home the very same day," said Laura Bonilla, Pediatrics Executive Director.

Monday's celebration was the cardiac kids' way of showing others who are suffering from heart conditions that they're not alone.

Kapiolani Medical Center officials say about 1% of children in Hawaii are born with heart defects.