Gabriela’s Story

Site created on October 9, 2019

PLEASE READ: If you desire to support the Yustiz family financially, contact them by email at or click on the tab that says "WAYS TO HELP," there you should be able to find a link to their GoFund Me page. Any donations given through the TRIBUTES tab above DOES NOT GO TO MIGUEL AND LESLEE.

Welcome to the homepage for Gabriela's Warriors, friends and family of Miguel and Leslee Yustiz dedicated to supporting them through the birth, treatment and care of their daughter, Gabriela, who is being treated for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).

Shortly before Labor Day 2019, an ultrasound revealed that the Yustizs' unborn daughter, Gabriela, had a severe congenital heart defect. Her condition, diagnosed as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), meant that the left side of Gabriela's heart (the side which pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body) was severely underdeveloped. In later appointments, Miguel and Leslee would learn that HLHS, if left untreated, is fatal. Gabriela's treatment will require three open-heart surgeries in the first few years of her life, the first of which will happen just two days after birth!

To be sure, the Yustiz family has a long road ahead! Their desire is for God to be glorified in their lives as they respond to this significant trial. We invite you to walk with them through this difficult time by following updates on this site and considering how you could help. Please bookmark this site and share it with others who may be interested. 

Thank you for your prayers and support! If you have any questions, please send a message to

Newest Update

Journal entry by Miguel Yustiz Torres

It has been a while since we've given you an update and we apologize for that! Leslee and I are and the rest of the family (Josiah, Ela, and my parents) are doing well and are adjusting well to Martinsburg and to our new ministry at IBC. Even if we we do miss the beach weather some days 🏖 

Although Ela is still vomiting about twice a day on her best days, we do want to praise God for seeing progress. Ela is sitting up for longer periods of time without much effort, which is showing that she is becoming stronger in her torso. We also think she's saying a word...the word "down." If you're wondering why "down" instead of "mama" or "dada"...our theory is that this is a physical therapy word 🤨😊😆 that's right... "up" (physical therapist raises her hands)..."down" (physical therapist puts her hands down). We'll take it..I guess it could be worse!  

The biggest reason to celebrate is the fact that she's actually experimenting more with her mouth. This is a huge deal since since reflux and vomiting has been such a challenge. Ela is now putting toys and her own hands in her mouth and she's EVEN drinking water! Pause and consider the fact as long as she's been alive...she has not been able to experience the coolness of water in her mouth or the quenching of thirst when she drinks it. Big, big deal!

Let me take advantage of this milestone in our daughter's life to draw a parallel to the joy of being a follower of Jesus. There are millions upon millions who are going through life without having ever experienced true satisfaction...people who have never been able to quench their sense of meaning or purpose. Praise God for having received the Living Water...let us not forget to share with others Jesus' promise: "...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (Jn. 4:14).

P.S.—Pray for upcoming cardiology appointment and issues with insurance. I'll let Leslee fill you in on the details on a later update. 

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