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COURAGE and INSPIRATION: Downey’s Eileen Garrido Is No Ordinary Teenager

Downey teen Eileen Garrido has inspired an entire community with her courage and musical gift.  Tammye McDuff Photo

Downey teen Eileen Garrido has inspired an entire community with her courage and musical gift. Tammye McDuff Photo

By Tammye McDuff

Eileen Garrido turns 15 this year. Instead of planning a typical Quinceañera, she will be organizing a fundraiser to benefit The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles [CHLA] at the Barbara J. Riley Center on May 17, 2014.

HMG met Garrido at the open house of Senate candidate Mario Guerra a few months ago.  Completely overwhelmed by her courage and melodic voice, Garrido brought the entire room to tears with her story and rendition of the National Anthem.

Garrido was born with a serious heart condition known as Tetralogy of Fallot. This complex heart condition causes the heart to provide insufficient oxygen to the body which literally can cause a patient to suffocate. At the age of 5 weeks Garrido underwent her first heart surgery; just a little over a year old Garrido underwent her second heart surgery to repair her heart and this June Garrido will have her third surgery to repair her pulmonary artery and valve. She is truly a miracle child.

At the tender age of 10, when most girls are concerned with best friends; boys and begging to wear makeup, Garrido approached her parents and wanted to start a foundation. Beating Hearts Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps raise funds and offer financial assistance for other children with cardiovascular illnesses. Each year the foundation hosts a fundraiser at the Barbra J. Riley Community Center for CHLA by selling tickets and enchanting attendees with Garrido’s amazing voice.

Garrido began voice lessons at the age of seven, recording her first CD in 2007 entitled “Part of Your World”. Garrido has performed in support of CHLA and Children’s Miracle Network at The Mirage, MGM Las Vegas, Disney World and Dodger Stadium. Garrido has composed three award winning songs dedicated to the children of CHLA and was selected from over 50,000 entries as the national scholarship winner for Beating Hearts foundation and community involvement by Kohl’s Kids Who Care.

Garrido performed at the Larry King Annual Gala in Washington D.C.; present at the American Music Awards and was a co-presenter with Jaime Lee Curtis for the Noche De Niño’s Gala on behalf of CHLA.

Beating Hearts 4th Annual Fundraiser goal is to raise $10,000 by June 2014 for Garrido’s upcoming surgery; currently the foundation has raised $6,000. Betty Garrido, Eileen’s mother says “It is her goal in life to help any child that is need, that they not be turned away. Eileen is very passionate about giving back.”

“Having a child that is as sick as our daughter,” states Betty Garrido “and realizing that so many children are in need, if we can help make just a little difference in their lives, that is exactly what we will do. We support Eileen 100% and we want her to live a long and healthy life, as well as continue her foundation and her legacy. We are a family and we are all in this together.”

Eileen Garrido currently maintains a 4.0 grade point average, attending the Ramon C. Cortines Visual & performing Arts High School in Los Angeles, as a music major. Garrido’s goal is to one day study music at prestige Julliard School of Music in New York.