9-year-old heading into open heart surgery gets a surprise parade from his school in Corpus Christi

Posted at 6:17 PM, Apr 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-17 19:19:32-04


There were cheerleaders, pom-poms, a band, and crowds cheering all for 9 year old Ethann Valdez.

“He’s always said he wanted his own parade and now he’s got it,” said Brittney Hernandez, Ethann’s mom.

Teachers at Garcia Elementary coordinated a ‘wish-you-well’ parade for Ethann who next week will be undergoing open heart surgery.

“I’m ready for it,” said Valdez.

Hernandez says six month into her pregnancy , doctors told her Ethann would be born with a heart condition that would eventually kill him by his 2nd birthday.

“At first his prognosis was only up to the age of 2, then they said 5 and then they were like well we really don’t know,” said Hernandez.

“One day in the car he stopped breathing I had to perform CPR on him,” said Hernandez. “We drove him to Driscoll’s while I was performing CPR on him and they took over from there.”

Since that day, Ethann has used a breathing tube. And at the age of 5 he was diagnosed with Geleophysic Dysplasia, a skeletal condition that makes someone short in stature and abnormally small in body size.

“He’s a little person we just didn’t know what type,” said Hernandez. “It’s a very rare genetic disorder and there are only 31 known cases.”

“And that’s what causes all the underlying conditions.”

But so far he’s pushed through his illness, now the next hurdle to overcome is his open heart surgery scheduled for next Wednesday.

“I’m sure I’ll be strong up until I see him go and wheel away, I try to stay optimistic and not think about crazy things that can happen,” said Hernandez.

But for the next week, Ethann will be riding on a wave of energy, as he continues to beat the odds with the support of his family and friends.

“I’m excited and happy,” said Valdez.