ROSEVILLE (CBS13) – Behind every scar, there’s a story. A little boy in Roseville is sharing his story with the nation.
At only 2-years-old, Leo Woo has pulled through two open-heart surgeries.READ MORE: Trailblazer Flew Through Glass Ceilings As First Female African American Pilot To Fly U-2 Aircraft
“His journey so far has been rocky,” said Leo’s mom Sarah Ehrman. “He ended up catching rhinovirus which is a common cold for most people, but for him, he ended up on life support for six days.”
Leo has hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a heart defect where all structures on the left side of his heart are underdeveloped. UC Davis pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, Gary Raff, had to rebuild parts of Leo’s heart.
“It definitely has impacted our lives. We didn’t know anything that was happening. For the first year, they said he had a 50/50 chance of making it,” said Ehrman.READ MORE: Pressure Behind The Wheel: Sacramento Mover Drove Historic Victorian Mansion Through San Francisco
Ehrman says her pregnancy was normal. She and Leo’s dad, Chris, had no idea Leo had any health problems until four days after he was born – he started turning blue.
Now, they’re raising awareness about congenital heart defects, or CHD, by entering Leo in a national contest called, Rock Your Scar. Participants don’t have to show or even have a scar. The pictures are judged on creativity showing how you’ve embraced your CHD.
“Just to show his face, that he is part of the CHD community. And get him out there just to spread awareness for people that it can happen to someone you know,” said Ehrman. “CHD kills more kids than cancer and there’s barely research or any funding for it also.”
Leo’s journey is far from over. He’s still facing another open-heart surgery.MORE NEWS: Early COVID Patient Remembers Military Quarantine After Cruise Ship Outbreak
He was runner-up in last year’s Rock Your Scar competition, but his struggles and triumphs already make him a winner in any contest. People have until January 31st to vote.