Heart Warrior Rudy Loves Church, Hugs and WWE Wrestling

Rudy's Family

Eight-year-old Rudy’s mom, Heidi, said her family’s world was flipped upside down when her son had three open heart surgeries in two years to correct his CHDs. But she looks at him today and sees strong little boy who loves to dole out hugs at church and imitate his favorite WWE wrestlers with his big brother.

Rudy was born with Trisomy 21, Complete Atrioventricular Canal defect and Tricuspid Stenosis. His first open heart surgery was at 5 months old. While he became quite sick after his second surgery, Heidi said since his third surgery, he’s been a whirlwind of energy.

“Rudy has just been bouncing off the walls ever since, praise God!” Heidi said. “He’s so strong and wild we have to put him to sleep to even look at his heart now.”

He also loves being outside, swimming, singing, and making people laugh. His little sister who is only 4, acts like a second momma to Rudy, according to Heidi.

“She’s right there with whatever he needs,” she said.

They had some scary moments in their CHD journey with Rudy, and Heidi said she appreciated the pediatric nurses who took the time to soothe their fears and reassure them that he was in the best hands possible. They made sure Heidi and her husband knew what questions to ask the doctors. She said she would tell other parents who are just starting out on their CHD journey to just hang in there.


“While it does hurt your heart to see your baby go through these hard things, it gets so much better,” Heidi said. “It’s so worth it.”

She said she’s grateful for their life and family, especially Rudy’s lively little life.

“He makes us all so much more appreciative of everything,” Heidi said. “This journey has taught us to trust God and thank him even in the hard and trying times and to appreciate the precious time we have with our angel babies. They really are God’s biggest blessings.”

Glen Iannucci, MD, is Rudy’s pediatric cardiologist at our Alpharetta clinic.

For more information about Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Cardiology and our pediatric cardiology specialists, click here.

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