ML - Vegas Magazine

2013 - Issue 7 - November

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

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Page 102 of 131

FRANCINE SANCHEZ: BATTLING FOR THE LITTLEST HEARTS Before she met her husband Mario, Francine Sanchez explains, she was a career-driven pharmaceutical company district manager. After what she describes as a perfect pregnancy, none of her education in cardiac health could prepare her for what lay ahead. Soleil, now 6, was born with a congenital heart defect. She was 4 days old when she had her first heart surgery, 6 months at her second, and 3 years old for her third. "I just knew that there was no way I could hire a nanny and go back to working 70 hours a week," Sanchez says. "I had to take care of this baby." But for a while feeding tubes and nurses come to "define who you are," she says. "And you have to come out swinging." For Sanchez, sitting in a support group wasn't an option. "I teamed up with the Children's Heart Foundation to initiate a research division. It lit a fire under me to initiate more research for kids like her." Soleil's condition was apparent at birth, but for many babies, it can be days later —outside the hospital—that a parent might detect a problem. "This year we passed the '1 in 100' bill through the Nevada Senate, so that no baby leaves the hospital in Nevada without their oxygen being checked," Sanchez says. She devotes her time to raising research funds, supporting families, and promoting wellness through her blog, And of course, to being what some have dubbed "the mom on a mission" to her now three kids. For Soleil, her heart issues will continue as she grows. And for the parents of kids with congenital heart defects, Sanchez says, "We're always trying to run ahead of the ball. And we're just going to love her and make sure she has the best life—whether that's for five days or 50 years." VEGASMAGAZINE.COM 101 096-105_V_F_VegasGives_Nov13.indd 101 10/23/13 10:59 AM

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