Campbell boy chases black belt despite heart condition


Shoham Das is 11 years old and quite a fierce warrior. He's been studying mixed martial arts since he was 7, but the real battle has been with his own heart.

"My right ventricle in my heart is not there," said Shoham.

In fact, Shoham was born with half a heart -- a defect so rare, only 1 in 10,000 kids have it. He's had three open-heart surgeries at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and now he's going for his black belt.

When asked if anyone has done that before, Shoham replied, "Not in my record, I don't know, but I feel really extraordinary right now."

Believe it or not, all of the very intense martial arts is actually helping Shoham's heart get better. Doctors say as long as he can take breaks in between, he can go for the black belt.

Shoham's mom watches nervously from the sidelines and monitors his oxygen level when he gets short of breath, but keeps going.

West Coast Martial Arts School owner Ernie Reyes calls Shoham a true inspiration. He told ABC7 News, "To be able to have that warrior spirit, it takes people a lifetime to get. And it amazes me how can such a young boy, at 11 years old, have it?"

"It's life to me. I've gone through so many things, I feel like I'm pretty lucky to have survived this," said Shoham.

This weekend, this young warrior will take the test for his black belt. Shoham isn't worried. After all, many feel he's already earned it.

Copyright © 2024 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.