Local mother pays tribute to babies born with heart defects

Patricia Navarrete and her daughters attend a ceremony honoring families involved in the Medically Vulnerable Pediatric Program at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

February is American Heart Health Month, and a local mom is raising awareness of congenital heart disease by recognizing children with heart defects.

Patricia Navarrete was the mother of baby Josiah, a baby who was born with a heart defect and later cared for by Marian Regional Medical Center’s Medically Vulnerable Pediatric Program, which cares for infants and children with special medical needs in the comfort of their own home.

“Families are not alone on this journey, and the journey does not stop,” Ms. Navarette said in a press release. “Flowers presented at a (recent) ceremony are gestures of love in Josiah’s honor. Sometimes all you need is love! Josiah’s love lives on in through all of us every day.

Josiah died two years ago due to the deformity, and Ms. Navarette uses this experience to honor Josiah’s memory and bring joy to other families and infants struggling with the disease.

In a small, socially distanced ceremony located on the Santa Maria Hospital campus, 12 MVP families gathered in the hospital’s healing garden to receive a gift basket, toys and flowers from Ms. Navarette, as well as a blessing on each of the infants.

“Our outreach to this medically vulnerable population is ongoing, so we’re building lasting relationships with families,” said Susan Rasmussen, MVP program manager at Marian Regional Medical Center. “These families are managing the ongoing care of their high-risk children, so it’s especially meaningful to see them honored today.”

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