Prayer Request: Heart Surgeries for Girls with Down Syndrome

Kevin Heldt wrote in response to the post on Down syndrome, abortion, and forced starvation:

The [abortion] statistic (and 92% is what I’ve seen) is chilling. Our society is desperately sick.

Just last month, after a long wait, my wife and I brought home our newest daughters, two girls with Down syndrome from Ethiopia. After having the privilege of getting to know them better over these last several weeks, it is no surprise to me whatsoever that the devil would target those who, like them, have a little something extra. Their sweet souls are specially fashioned by God to soften and make tender the hearts of all who come in contact with them. (It has been nothing short of incredible seeing this in action every single time our new daughters meet someone new.) They are uniquely gifted to give love, without inhibitions, without conditions. I firmly believe these precious children are some of God’s most powerful instruments to heal our society which is quite literally hell-bent on choosing fear and death and hate over hope and life and love.

Leticia, thanks for all that you do. Brianna and I can’t wait to read your book!

And Joe, I’m going to shamelessly (pun intended, based on your blog’s title) take advantage of your wide readership and ask any and all of your readers who might be reading this comment to pray for our girls’ upcoming heart surgeries. Thank you.

What a beautiful and inspiring comment.  And please, pray for them!

The Heldts seem like a pretty amazing family, with seven kids aged seven or under.  If you want to learn more about them, and the two newest members of their family (Tigist and Mekdes, the girls Kevin refers to above), check out Just Showing Up, the blog run by Kevin’s wife, Brianna. I’ve mentioned it before because it’s very good. In particular, check out this post for more information about the procedure, and adorable pictures of them both.


  1. Of course I shall pray for your family. It is blessed more than most.

    Of all the people I have known in my life, my younger mentally-challenged brother was one of the most loving and innocent. I’m sure it is his prayers in heaven which are helping guide me now.

  2. Mr. Heldt – it will be my pleasure to pray for your family. Congratulations on your latest additions!

    When I was in medical school a couple came to talk about their experiences raising their daughter, at the time 13, who also had Downs. To paraphrase their main point: It was like planning for and getting all excited about a trip to Paris and then realizing that the plane actually landed in Amsterdam. And although they initially were disappointed about not being able to do all the things they had planned for Paris, they quickly realized that Amsterdam was a pretty awesome city too, and had so much to offer they didn’t even know was there. It didn’t take long to get all settled in and feel like this is where they were meant to be all along. I absolutely loved that analogy and am still grateful to that brave couple who would come share that different perspective with those of us who would one day become physicians.

    With regards to some of the comments in the previous post – medicine is obviously a very stressful career, one that doesn’t afford you a lot of time to think about what you are doing and to process the emotions that you experience. Even the best of Catholics (not to mention a struggling one like me) can easily lose their way. I love my job and I am not complaining, but if I too can beg for prayers, please also remember me and my colleagues, that we do not lose sight of the sanctity of all human life no matter the circumstances.

  3. Do Not Be Anxious,

    Thanks for sharing that!


    Loved the Paris / Amsterdam story. And I offered up some prayers for you and everyone in the medical profession this weekend — your comment there was very timely.

    I visited a nursing home yesterday with my parish priest (he was taking Communion to the elderly), and it was heartbreaking to see the way some of the staffers treated the patients. For example, there was a woman in a lot of pain, and didn’t have any medication — when Father brought this to the attention of the staffer, she seemed to sort of brush off his concern and said she’d take care of her soon enough.

    I can definitely understand how being around that much pain and suffering all day could start to numb a person after a while. This is true for those who care for the soul as well as the body. But that’s why prayers are needed that they can always remember the humanity of those being ministering to.

    God bless,


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