First Pacific Island child receives help from Save A Child’s Heart Foundation in Israel
Tel Aviv, ISRAEL — Until a few months ago Abigail Gaunavou’s future for a normal life was gloomy.
The three-year old Fijian girl was born with a congenital heart defect — a hole in her heart. And until earlier this year, her parents Magret Kane and Saimoni Gaunavou Qalokivuiva were in despair. Hope for them was running out after exhausting all possible options available for surgery that may save their daughter’s life.
But divine intervention must have played a hand with the Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, Save a Child’s Heart Foundation accepting Abigail as their first ever patient from the Pacific.
And her surgery last week was a success with the young Abigail greeting the Pacific Islanders medial personnel touring Israel this week with a gleaming smile of renewed hope.
In Abigail’s case, before Save the Heart came into the picture Saimoni and Magret were left in despair after a heart specialist advised them that the nearest available appointment for their daughter to go under the knife for open heart surgery would be three to five years.
The visiting journalist from the Pacific Islands on tour in the Holy Land this week bore witness to Israel’s kindness during a visit to the hospital and the Legacy Heritage Children’s Home where families of children receiving treatment are staying before and after surgery.
Abigail’s case is historical for the Pacific as she is the first ever child from the region to be treated and saved by the Foundation. It has also opened up new doors for Pacific Island Countries to consider the Tel Aviv lifesavers as the opportunity to treat children with heart conditions.
Abigail did not undergo open heart surgery instead a new procedure was used which was successful with the young girl up on her feet a few days after surgery.
“We do not and will not turn our backs to any child needing our help,” Chief Surgeon Dr. Assa Sagi assured the Pacific Island media personnel.
Asked if Samoan children are eligible, he was quick to reaffirm that the Save the Hearts Mission is about saving lives and to treat any child with a heart complication “regardless of race, religion, gender or nationality is very much alive here at Save a Child’s Heart.”
“All we need is for them to contact us and we will start the process on rendering our assistance.” Dr. Sagi said.
All expenses, which include airfares as well as accommodations and treatment are paid for by the Save a Child’s Heart.
According to The Island Sun Online, in its “Hope for kids” story, “All it needs is a report from the doctors detailing the heart problem the child is suffering and a good communication link between the Wolfson Medical Center and child’s parent or guardians.”
For Samoa, over $20 million tala is spent every year by government to send local patients overseas needing specialized medical treatment. Samoa is the only Government in the Pacific Forum providing this humanitarian assistance for her people.
Applauding the miracle which they have been praying for, Abigail’s parents have nothing but praise for Israel’s assistance.
“We would like to thank Israel's Pacific Islands Advisor Mr. Yaron S. Dadon from the Israeli Embassy in Australia & all the Amazing Jewish People, who've made this life-saving experience possible for our daughter Abigail at SACH-Israel.
“You have our love and blessings!” said Saimoni and Magret in a public acknowledgement posted on social media.
According to the Foundation’s website:
To date, Save a Child's Heart have saved the lives of more than 4,740 children from 56 countries in Africa, South America, Europe, Asia, and throughout the Middle East and trained more than 150 medical team members from these countries
Since 1995, Save a Child's Heart has treated more than 4,740 children suffering from congenital and rheumatic heart disease. The annual number of children we treat has grown dramatically from 48 cases in 1996 to over 290 in 2016.
The children we help are treated at the Wolfson Medical Center and housed at the Legacy Heritage Children’s Home of Save a Child’s Heart, both located in Holon. They come from around the globe, from more than 57 countries where adequate medical care is simply unavailable.
Approximately 50% of the children are from the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Iraq and Morocco, more than 30% are from Africa, and the remainder are from Asia, Eastern Europe and the Americas.
Incredibly, in today’s modern age, at any given moment there are thousands of children suffering from heart disease around the world who require our assistance.”
Abigail is the first Pacific Island child to have been given a second chance in life thanks to the humanitarian organization and the Israelis are hoping that she will not be the last.
For more information contact the following;
16 Haviva Reik St.