News Release August 3, 2023 
Contact: Romina Newman, (804) 282-8830   


Brought to Richmond by World Pediatric Project, four-year-old from Antigua prepares for open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital of Richmond with an unforgettable night at The Diamond 

Richmond, VA – The Richmond Flying Squirrels and The Heart of Virginia Chevy Dealers created an extraordinary and heartwarming experience for four-year-old Xaire, a child from Antigua who is set to undergo cardiac surgery this month at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. Xaire and his mother were brought to Richmond by locally-based nonprofit organization, World Pediatric Project. 

Xaire, accompanied by his mother, staff and volunteers from World Pediatric Project, was invited to attend the Flying Squirrels game as VIP guests in a recent contest against the Portland Sea Dogs. Attending his first-ever baseball game, Xaire received a standing ovation from the crowd after tossing out a first pitch.  

Thanks to the generosity of The Heart of Virginia Chevy Dealers, Xaire and his mom had the privilege of front- row seating in the sponsor’s “Rally Rail” section on the third baseline. He was gifted a keepsake game ball, enjoyed a meet and greet with mascots, Nutzy and Nutasha, and was enthrfront-row by the riveting post-game fireworks display. 

Xaire was born with congenital heart defect (CHD), the most common birth defect to affect newborn babies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8 out of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. has CHD. At just days old, Xaire’s heart defect was first identified by a local nurse with only a stethoscope, as diagnostic imaging is not available in his home country of Antigua. Through long-term partnerships in the Caribbean region, Xaire’s mother Francisca was linked with Richmond-based global nonprofit World Pediatric Project.  

“I was so grateful to be connected with WPP soon after Xaire’s birth,” Francisca explained. “Otherwise, I would have had no way to get my baby the care he needed, since we do not have any pediatric cardiac professionals in Antigua.”  

After being formally diagnosed with CHD by a WPP medical team led by cardiologist Dr. William Moskowitz of Mississippi Children’s Hospital, Xaire’s care plan was put into action. Without specialty care for pediatric patients in most Caribbean islands, WPP arranged to bring the young child to the U.S. for open heart surgery. He will undergo surgery later this month by WPP volunteer medical professionals at the new Children’s Hospital of Richmond “Wonder Tower” through the cardiac surgery collaboration between CHoR at VCU and UVA Children’s Hospital.  

“We are immensely grateful to the Richmond Flying Squirrels and The Heart of Virginia Chevy Dealers for their incredible contribution in making Xaire’s first week in Richmond memorable, as he anticipates his upcoming cardiac surgery. The love and support shown by the Richmond community have given them reassurance as they prepare to face the challenges ahead,” said Andrea Ahonen, senior vice president, market development of World Pediatric Project. “Their kindness has not only made an impact on Xaire’s life but also those who witnessed these special moments. This experience holds a special place in all of our hearts.” 

About World Pediatric Project 

World Pediatric Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to healing children and advancing local healthcare capacity in the world. Since 2001, WPP has sent pediatric diagnostic and surgical teams to low-resource countries in the Caribbean and Latin America and linked children to centers of healthcare excellence in the U.S. and beyond for care, mobilizing more than $200 million in services through in-kind contributions and supply donations to reach more than 19,000 children. For more information, visit or call 804-282-8830. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter