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June 12, 2009


little boy in barber chair
Vasco was thrilled to get a trim

Vasco's Heart

Produced by
Anita Woodley


When columnist Cathleen Falsani won a trip to Africa in a raffle, she planned to veer off the tourist track, do some writing. She never imagined that a young boy would steal her heart the moment he sat in her lap. Cathleen learned that the boy, Vasco, had a serious heart condition, but could not afford medical attention.

After Cathleen returned home and wrote about Vasco in her newspaper column, she found herself engaged in a massive project to bring Vasco from his home in Malawi to Chicago for a heart surgery.

The surgery successfully took place on Wednesday. Cathleen talks to Dick Gordon about how her relationship with Vasco has changed her life.

  • Follow Vasco's Heart Surgery and Recovery
  • Read Cathleen's  Chicago Sun-Times Column


You know we often turn the second half of the show over the you. We like to hear the stories that are the most remarkable in your life. Chuck Walkley's neighbor Jennifer heard Chuck's story and she told us, and we persuaded him to come in to the studio.

Chuck returned from Vietnam with a serious injury and no idea how to move forward with his life. When he got out of the hospital, he decided to hitchhike home to surprise his mother. He quickly was picked up by a state trooper who told him that hitchhiking on a highway was illegal. Then the trooper offered him a ride. Chuck was transferred from one state trooper's car to another, through thee states, until finally, sirens blaring and lights blazing, he was dropped off at his mother's door. That kindness inspired Chuck to spend the next two decades of his life as a police officer.

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