NEWS | January 22, 2021

UC Davis pediatric heart patient enters Rock Your Scar contest

National photo content to raise awareness about congenital heart defects


Two-year-old Leo Woo has already had two successful heart surgeries, thanks to UC Davis pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Gary Raff.

Leo Woo Leo Woo

Leo’s parents Sarah Ehrman and Chris Woo have entered Leo in this year’s Rock Your Scar contest, a national contest hosted by Mended Little Hearts to raise awareness about congenital heart defects.

It is a way for the family to share what they have been through and to connect with others who have also battled with congenital heart conditions.  

Ehrman had a normal pregnancy and did not know that Leo had any health problems until four days after he was born.

“He was turning a little bit blue. [The doctor] pulled him aside again to check him and figured out his oxygen levels in his right hand and right foot (weren't) matching up, and she heard a heart murmur,” Ehrman said.

Woo was transferred to UC Davis Children’s Hospital, where he was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a complex cardiac defect in which all structures on the left side of the heart are underdeveloped. Without treatment, HLHS is fatal.

Woo had what’s known as the Norwood procedure, the first in a series of three open-heart surgeries, in which Raff successfully redirected blood flow and rebuilt areas of his heart. Raff also performed the Glenn surgery on Woo, which successfully redirected blood flow from the upper body to the lungs. The third surgery in the series is still to come.

Woo has also had six cardiac catheterizations from UC Davis chief of pediatric cardiology Frank Ing to improve blood flow.

“We are thankful for the care that Leo has received from UC Davis,” Ehrman said. “Leo is doing great.”

Vote for Leo Woo here. The public can vote every day until Jan. 31. Winners will be announced during Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, Feb. 7-14.