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Five Little Hearts Healed

Several weeks ago, five little heart patients and their parents traveled to India for their chance to receive life-saving cardiac surgery unavailable to them in Uganda. After settling in and having pre-surgery testing and consultations with the surgeons, the first child to go for surgery was Ruthie.

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Five Little Heart Patients: Settling In and Preparing for Surgery

After two long flights and a layover in Dubai, our group of five little heart patients from Uganda landed safely in Kolkata, India. Our LWB India team was so excited to welcome them! Both the parents and their children were tired from the long journey, but the gift of a little stuffed toy brought smiles to their faces.

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Five Little Heart Patients Travel from Uganda to India

Yesterday, five little Uganda heart patients boarded a plane and traveled to India to prepare for life-saving cardiac surgeries that are unavailable to them in their home country. Their parents have spent the past few months gathering medical reports, passports, visas, and taking COVID tests. We hope you’ll follow along with us for the next few weeks as we get to know these heart warriors and their stories.

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Stories of Hope: Joyce

Last February, we introduced you to a tiny toddler in desperate need of help. Little Joyce had been born with multiple medical needs. Almost immediately after birth, she was whisked away from her mom to undergo an emergency operation for anal atresia. Days later, she was diagnosed with a complex heart issue as well — an atrioventricular (AV) canal defect. This cardiac condition involves a large hole in the very center of the heart chambers, along with faulty valves. Without surgery, Joyce’s heart would eventually fail.

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Hearts Healed in Kolkata: Devon, Jeremiah, and Joyce

For ten long months, the seven Ugandan heart children have been waiting for their chance to have their hearts healed. This week, the healing began.

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The First Few Days in Kolkata

They made it! Our intrepid group of travelers from Uganda — 7 children, 6  moms, 1 aunt, 1 nurse, and 1 social worker — arrived safely in Kolkata and got settled into their apartments, which are thankfully all on the same floor and share some common areas for the children to play and for the moms to chat.

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Wheels Up! From Kampala to Kolkata

It was wheels up for seven children from Uganda today! After 10 months of anxious waiting during the COVID lockdown, multiple visa applications, canceled plane tickets, endless red tape, and medical tests, the children finally took off for India where they will now have their chance for long-awaited heart surgeries. Our group of 7 children, 6 moms, 1 aunt, 1 nurse, and 1 social worker all received their negative COVID test results in the nick of time today while they were waiting in line to check in. Phew!

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Healing Postponed: An Update From Uganda

Before the pandemic took off around the world, our supporters helped fund heart surgeries for six children in Uganda waiting for heart surgeries that were unavailable in their country. They were accepted for surgery in India, and the families were filled with gratitude and relief that their children would have a chance for healing. Just before the families went to the embassy to request medical visas to travel to India, the borders closed, and they have been stuck in limbo waiting ever since.

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Jeremiah: 5 Hearts, 7 Days

Jeremiah was Joselyn’s first baby.  While pregnant, she spent her days dreaming about her baby’s future, praying over life, and wondering whether she’d be blessed with a boy or girl. As it turned out, though, her birth story was nothing like she had dreamed. Jeremiah’s father abandoned Joselyn at the hospital. She has not seen him again, and he has never seen his son. Those first days with her child marked a difficult turning point in her life. She left the hospital as a single mom — a single mom of a baby with medical needs.

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Joyce: 5 Hearts, 7 Days

Lydia had just been told that the complex heart surgery her baby girl Joyce needs to live could not be performed anywhere in all of Uganda. The hospital staff told her that she’d have to travel abroad and would have to find help on her own. Noticing her tears, a kind stranger on the street stepped carefully toward Lydia to offer a few minutes of comfort. Before stepping back into the crowd, this mysterious woman handed her a slip of paper with a phone number on it.

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