Online school is a life-changing gift for teen with heart defect

TWENTYNINE PALMS — Virtual education is the key to success for Israel Ruiz as he strives to overcome challenging health hurdles he has faced since birth.

Israel, 17, was born with a condition that caused the underdevelopment of part of his tiny heart. He had open-heart surgery at 4 days old, 6 months old and again at 3 years old, his parents said. He continues to need treatments and procedures annually, first at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and now at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. He has had a stent procedure to help the functioning of his heart.

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