Father, two children suffer same rare heart illness, family asks for help

FRESNO, Calif. - Marlene Rios and Cassio Huerta have a beautiful family. Together they have three kids ages 3 to 10, but last year they had a bombshell dropped on them which has them asking for help.

Their youngest was diagnosed with a rare form of Long QT Syndrome. Shortly after their then 2 year old's diagnoses, two other family members are diagnosed with heart conditions as well.

When you walk into their home you see a normal family. The two sisters playing house and the older brother in his room playing video games, but the reality is the family is struggling. The first diagnoses came after then 2 year old Venus accidentally ate her older brother's ADHD medication.

"We had to take her to the emergency room at valley children's hospital and she slept for about two days and from there we had to take her to Stanford," said Marlene.

Stanford specialist told her she had to keep a close eye on Venus. Her EKG's were abnormal. Weeks later, her 10 year old complained of chest pain. Until that moment he was your average active young boy, with trophies to show for it.

"Like jumping jax I can't do that, like jump rope I don't even know how to do jump rope," said Valentino as he explains the restrictions he has because of his condition.

Venus' diagnoses was the first of a snowball of health complications for the family. Before they knew it, Venus, Valentino, and Cassio, Marlene's husband were all diagnosed and in need of surgery.

Lynn Johnson, director of family support with the Sudden arrhythmia Death Syndrome Foundation said long qt is detected in 1 in every 2000 live births, and it can be genetic.

"Each parent has a fifty-fifty chance of passing it down to every child, and a brother and sister have a fifty-fifty chance of sharing the gene. So if one family member is identified we want to check everyone in the family," explains Johnson.

Medical experts were able to make the link in the Huertas through genetic testing.

On this day, the Huerta children get to play like normal kids. Valentino wants to pass along a message to any kids going through heart disease.

"It's going to be alright and it is for their own safety. They aren't going to like it but it is going to be ok," said Valentino.

To help out the family, you can visit https://www.gofundme.com/superhuertafamily.


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