Top Banner for Raphael Joseph-Marie Vilawanou Ganmavo Obituary
Raphael Joseph-Marie Vilawanou Ganmavo Obituary

Brought to you by Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home & Crematory

Raphael Joseph-Marie Vilawanou Ganmavo

Woodbridge, Virginia

July 12, 2021 - May 1, 2024

Raphael Joseph-Marie Vilawanou Ganmavo Obituary

Raphaël Joseph-Marie Vilawanou was born on July 12, 2021. He was born with a congenital heart disease Hipoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). He spent the first nine months of his life at Children National DC with mommy or daddy always by him. He was never alone from the beginning until the end. He’d undergo several surgical procedures of which two open-heart surgeries : first one at less than 3 months of age and the second at 7 months. He was loved by many and known for his big and bright eyes, heart-melting smiles and giggles. He was very social with a strong personality.Raphael would eventually come home for the first time in April 2022. But, a few weeks later he was readmitted. During that short stay, it was discovered that one of his lungs had died. The team recommended transplant or to let nature take its course.


After several months waiting and rejected by many, in October 2022, mom and dad took a leap of faith, and drove 10 hours to take him to Boston in hope to give Raphael the best chance. He was welcomed and cared for by the best and most compassionate professionals. After Nine months, Raphael came back to VA. He was transferred to Inova Fairfax and eventually came home in June 2023. Raphael will spend the following months in and out of the hospital. But during his time at home, he tried to have the best fun possible with his family and anyone willing to join.


Older sister Andra was his little mommy doing everything mommy would do. Younger sister Allyson was the best therapist, teacher, disciplinarian and movie companion he’d ever asked for; together they also form the « big eyes team ». Brother Bégnon was his wrestling buddy. Daddy was his devoted driver, carrying him in one arm and all his equipment in the other, taking him to explore the world around him. Mommy was at his side everywhere he goes and during all his hospital stays. Raphael loves books, stacking rings, and to watch Disney movies. His favorites were: Moana ( he’d watch Moana all day if allowed during his first year), Encanto, Coco but mostly Sing and Sing 2. He also loves Bubble Guppies. He was a chocolate guy. Not sure if he was aiming for fashion design, but he loves to touch any fabric and had a deep love for washcloth. Although, he was still working on his verbal skills, he was know to be very expressive. When not happy, he’d frown his face; he’d roll his eyes on you and they were so big that you couldn’t miss the message. His little hands or thin arms could stop as many big hands that come after him. Despite his feisty side, he was popular because of his kind, playful, joyful and warm personality. He’d clap for anyone he was happy with.


Raphael defied many odds about him. He was given max a year. Then, he was given two if lucky. He had a lot of challenges, but he would take on each one. In March, he eventually got sick and was admitted to Inova. After a month, he was transferred back to Boston. He was getting better. Dad and his siblings had made it to Boston to cheer him up. They never had the chance to do that like they wanted as Raphael was intubated. Then on that Wednesday, May 1,2024 he decided it was his day. Nothing could stop him. Everyone who cared for him knows that Raphael rolls on his own plans. He left this world in his devoted mother's loving arms, with his beloved father and doting siblings, and the wonderful medical team who saw him as Raphael and not his prognosis, surrounding him.


With the challenges he endured at his tender age, he was a pediatric medical marvel, surprising many hospital professionals time and time again when his little body rallied during trying moments in his critical care. While we firmly believe that God heard and answered many prayers for his unexpected longevity, we know, too, that many doctors, surgeons, nurses, and hospital support staff played an important role in helping him to live life and make joyful memories with his loved ones. For all those that had a hand in his care, or sustained him with prayers, we express to you our deepest gratitude.


Raphael came to this world as a surprise. He left by surprise. He only had two years and nine months, but he touched many people and taught us a lot backed by his own experience. He showed us what resilience means, and how not to let the daily challenges of our lives take our smile away from us or steal our true-self.


To God The Glory!


Contributions can be made in Raphaël's name to the Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation


To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of Raphael Joseph-Marie Vilawanou Ganmavo hosted by Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home & Crematory.

Raphaël Joseph-Marie Vilawanou was born on July 12, 2021. He was born with a congenital heart disease Hipoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). He spent the first nine months of his life at Children National DC with mommy or daddy always by him. He was never alone from the beginning until the end. He’d undergo several surgical procedures of which two open-heart surgeries : first one at less than 3 months of age and the second at 7 months. He was loved by many and known for his big and bright eyes, heart-melting smiles and giggles. He was very social with a strong personality.Raphael would eventually come home for the first time in April 2022. But, a few weeks later he was readmitted. During that short stay, it was discovered that one of his lungs had died. The team recommended transplant or to let nature take its course.


After several months waiting and rejected by many, in October 2022, mom and dad took a leap of faith, and drove 10 hours to take him to Boston in hope to give Raphael the best chance. He was welcomed and cared for by the best and most compassionate professionals. After Nine months, Raphael came back to VA. He was transferred to Inova Fairfax and eventually came home in June 2023. Raphael will spend the following months in and out of the hospital. But during his time at home, he tried to have the best fun possible with his family and anyone willing to join.


Older sister Andra was his little mommy doing everything mommy would do. Younger sister Allyson was the best therapist, teacher, disciplinarian and movie companion he’d ever asked for; together they also form the « big eyes team ». Brother Bégnon was his wrestling buddy. Daddy was his devoted driver, carrying him in one arm and all his equipment in the other, taking him to explore the world around him. Mommy was at his side everywhere he goes and during all his hospital stays. Raphael loves books, stacking rings, and to watch Disney movies. His favorites were: Moana ( he’d watch Moana all day if allowed during his first year), Encanto, Coco but mostly Sing and Sing 2. He also loves Bubble Guppies. He was a chocolate guy. Not sure if he was aiming for fashion design, but he loves to touch any fabric and had a deep love for washcloth. Although, he was still working on his verbal skills, he was know to be very expressive. When not happy, he’d frown his face; he’d roll his eyes on you and they were so big that you couldn’t miss the message. His little hands or thin arms could stop as many big hands that come after him. Despite his feisty side, he was popular because of his kind, playful, joyful and warm personality. He’d clap for anyone he was happy with.


Raphael defied many odds about him. He was given max a year. Then, he was given two if lucky. He had a lot of challenges, but he would take on each one. In March, he eventually got sick and was admitted to Inova. After a month, he was transferred back to Boston. He was getting better. Dad and his siblings had made it to Boston to cheer him up. They never had the chance to do that like they wanted as Raphael was intubated. Then on that Wednesday, May 1,2024 he decided it was his day. Nothing could stop him. Everyone who cared for him knows that Raphael rolls on his own plans. He left this world in his devoted mother's loving arms, with his beloved father and doting siblings, and the wonderful medical team who saw him as Raphael and not his prognosis, surrounding him.


With the challenges he endured at his tender age, he was a pediatric medical marvel, surprising many hospital professionals time and time again when his little body rallied during trying moments in his critical care. While we firmly believe that God heard and answered many prayers for his unexpected longevity, we know, too, that many doctors, surgeons, nurses, and hospital support staff played an important role in helping him to live life and make joyful memories with his loved ones. For all those that had a hand in his care, or sustained him with prayers, we express to you our deepest gratitude.


Raphael came to this world as a surprise. He left by surprise. He only had two years and nine months, but he touched many people and taught us a lot backed by his own experience. He showed us what resilience means, and how not to let the daily challenges of our lives take our smile away from us or steal our true-self.


To God The Glory!


Contributions can be made in Raphaël's name to the Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation


To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of Raphael Joseph-Marie Vilawanou Ganmavo hosted by Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home & Crematory.

Events