A child of both the Netherlands and Colombia, born in Aruba, Lunah’s short life has already encompassed more hills and valleys, challenges and miracles, than others may experience in decades. In December 2015 Lunah was born with a congenital heart defect, and her parents were told it could be corrected surgically when she was three to six months old. Just two weeks later, however, the baby was also diagnosed with Edward’s Syndrome, a chromosomal condition. With the identification of her syndrome came the news that Lunah’s insurance would not cover her heart surgery, deeming her ‘incompatible with life’. Her parents, Liandha Rijksen-Garcia and Jurrie Rijksen, knew the assessment was wrong, and set out to prove that their little one was full of life and possibility – and worthy of treatment.
Lunah’s family found hope in Salt Lake City with a team at Primary Children’s Hospital willing to move forward with corrective heart surgery. Originally planning to stay in Utah only a few days for assessment, Lunah and her parents have instead found a temporary home at the Ronald McDonald House for over a year and a half while trying to move forward with insurance, unable to return to their home and family since their little girl is at high risk for cardiac arrest or severe heart failure. The now two-year-old is already defying odds by making it past her first birthday; Lunah is a tiny bundle of love and light and hope who is filling hearts while fighting to have her own repaired. The Rijksen-Garcia family inspires and has been embraced by the staff and guests at RMHC, along with relatives and friends around the world who are coming together to cheer for and support Lunah’s light.