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Mighty Max Takes on the World

When Joya Bardezbanian went into labor with their second child, Maximos, on December 9, 2014, she and her husband, Bryce, could have never been prepared for what would transpire next. Their presumably healthy baby boy would soon become hypoxic once transferred to the nursery.

Max, just a few hours old, was then immediately transferred to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). There, he was stabilized and Joya and Bryce were informed that their newborn son likely had transposition of his great vessels in his heart.

Because there was no diagnosis while in-utero, the Bardezbanians were shocked to find Max was born with this condition. The neonatologist at the hospital told Bryce that if his diagnosis were confirmed, Max would be transferred to Luries Children’s Hospital for further care.

However, Bryce, a general surgeon at Advocate Christ Medical Center knew he could trust his newborn son’s life in the hands of chief of pediatric cardiovascular surgery, Dr. Ilbawi. After speaking to his senior partner, Dr. Mesleh, Bryce was immediately contacted by Dr. Ilbawi himself, who offered whatever was necessary to facilitate Max’s transfer to Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn. Most importantly, he offered Joya and Bryce hope that Max would be well cared for.

Max was immediately transferred to Advocate Children’s Hospital, where he would subsequently undergo a bedside procedure and, days later, open-heart surgery. After a five-day post-operative stay in the pediatric surgical heart unit, Max was discharged home – just in time for Christmas.

Max is now three years old. Aside from his yearly echocardiograms and the possibility of a valve replacement in the remote future, he is exceeding expectations health-wise. He likes to spend his time with his big brother, Ayden (age 5), eating and playing games.

Every year on Max’s “heart-versary”, he visits Advocate Children’s Hospital PSHU where he hands out toys to the kids and families who spend the holiday season inside its loving and caring hospital walls.

February is American Heart Month. The 2018 beneficiary of First Look for Charity is the Advocate Heart Institute, which includes the Advocate Children’s Heart Institute. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here. To make a gift, visit our website.