AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--HeartGift Austin recently changed the life of five-year-old Confidence from Benin City, Nigeria by providing her with lifesaving heart surgery at the Dell Children's Medical Center.
HeartGift Austin brings children from developing countries to the United States to give them the critical heart surgery they need, which unfortunately is not available in their home country. The foundation covers all expenses of the trip and provides for the needs of the children during their visit.
Confidence received her diagnosis of Ventricular Septal Defect – a hole between the lower chambers of her heart – when she was two months old. In Nigeria, children with this birth defect typically die before their tenth birthday. Confidence’s heart was mended through HeartGift Austin’s partnership with the Dell Children's Medical Center, along with funds donated by an Austin-based technology company, Software Advice.
“Confidence recently underwent a successful four-hour procedure to repair her heart,” said Jennifer Edwards, HeartGift Austin Executive Director. “We want to give a big thanks to the Dell Children's Medical Center, our extensive medical community who donated over $250,000 in specialized medical care, and the employees of Software Advice, who all donated their time, talent and resources to save Confidence.”
To make the cultural transition easier, HeartGift places each child and their caregiver in a host home during their stay. These volunteer families make the child’s stay comfortable – and, after the surgery, a lot of fun. Confidence and her mother Mary stayed with the family of Software Advice’s CEO Don Fornes. She made fast friends with Fornes’ three-year-old daughter and for six weeks lived as if she was part of the family. Employees from Software Advice also helped with donations, hospital visits and outside activities to make Confidence feel at home.
“It was an incredible experience to see this little girl’s life transformed over a matter of weeks. We are awed by modern medicine and the generosity of our community,” said Fornes. “But more importantly, our family and the employees who dedicated their time and money to Confidence’s cause were also transformed by this experience. It always feels good to give, but to witness firsthand such dramatic healing is extraordinary.”
HeartGift as a whole has worked with more than 26 countries and finds children through a referral process. Partnering humanitarian organizations and physicians provide HeartGift with candidates who have congenital heart defects, and a medical selection team reviews each child's case and determines if they are eligible to receive surgery in the United States.
Confidence will head back to Nigeria with a repaired heart and a prognosis for a long and healthy life on Wednesday, October 16. For more information about HeartGift Austin, to find ways to donate, or to learn about volunteering or hosting a family, visit www.heartgift.org/chapters/austin or contact Jennifer Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About HeartGift Austin
HeartGift Austin provides life-saving surgery to repair congenital heart defects in children who live in countries where this kind of medical care is not available. We provide our services at no cost to the family, and we assume the financial responsibility for all medical expenses in addition to coordinating travel, host families and lodging, meals, translator services, and anything else the child may need. HeartGift Austin has been saving the lives of children since 2000, and is the original chapter of the HeartGift Foundation, based in Austin, Texas. In early 2014, HeartGift will celebrate their 200th surgery with a child arriving in Austin for lifesaving “heart gift” in January.