STORIES OF HOPE* 

*selected cases

Rebeca contracted bacterial meningitis when she was seven years old and became deaf as a result. At the age of nine she came to the attention of the WWCF as she was beginning to lose language skills. Because her language was still intact, Rebeca was deemed an excellent candidate for a cochlear implant. Under the auspices of the WWCF Rebeca and her mother were flown from Guatemala to New York City where Dr. J. Thomas Roland, Co-Director of the New York University Cochlear Implant Program, performed the implant surgery. The WWCF arranged for Rebecca and her mother to board with a host family for her six week stay in New York. After a period of healing, the device was activated and Rebeca was able to hear sounds for the first time in two years. (Guatemala)

Sharif, a 21 month old boy from the West African country of Burkina Faso, had an atrial septal defect (or “hole in the heart”).  Left unattended this defect results in worsening heart failure and eventual death.  Sharif was brought to the United States for treatment during which time the Worldwide Children's Foundation of New York arranged for Sharif and a caretaker to stay with a host family. Open heart surgery to correct the defect was performed by Dr. Samuel Weinstein (a WWCF Board member) at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Following successful surgery, Sharif returned to his home country and a joyous reunion with his family. (Burkina Faso)

Edward was two years old and lived in Santiago with his mother, his twin brother and his six year old sister. When Edward was born, he was diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect (VSD).  His mother was desperate to get Edward the care that he needed and our medical mission answered that need. His surgery and recovery went very well. Edward loves cars so whenever he was upset his mother would open the curtains for him to see the parking lot cars. The sight would make him smile. He was able to go home three days after his surgery. (Santiago)

Loren was 10 years old and lived with her parents. When she was two years old she was diagnosed with subaortic stenosis. Her cardiologist said it would go away but when Loren was six years old another cardiologist told her that she needed surgery. As time passed Loren would get more and more tired and dizzy. Her family started to look everywhere to have her cured. On the day of the surgery, Loren was smiling and in a good mood. She was not scared at all because she knew that with the surgery she would be able to finally run and play like all the other kids. Loren’s surgery and recovery went very well and she was able to leave the hospital three days after the surgery.

Miriam was only eight years old when she became deaf after receiving a toxic dose of quinine to treat malaria in Nigeria. At the time,  Nigeria did not have the capability to provide the level of care needed to treat this tragic hearing loss. She and her mother soon traveled to New York City where Dr. J. Thomas Roland, Co-Director of the New York University Cochlear Implant Program, performed her implant surgery, sponsored by the Worldwide Children's Foundation of New York. (Nigeria)

Liridona had a “hole in her heart”, a condition known as an atrial septal defect (or ASD) that can cause congestive heart failure and possible lung damage. Liridona means ‘desire for freedom’ in Albanian.  She and her father traveled thousands of miles to New York City to have the operation required for her survival, sponsored by WWCFNY. The surgery was performed at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York by Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Samuel Weinstein in conjunction with Pediatric Cardiologists Dr. Christine Walsh and Dr. Raj Shenoy. (Albania)

Gabriela was two years old and lived in Santiago with her parents and two brothers. Shortly after birth she was diagnosed with Tetrology of Fallot (a complex cluster of cardiac defects). Since then her mother desperately looked everywhere to find Gabriela the surgery that she required. She tried with another medical mission in Santiago but was not accepted.  Undaunted, her mother did not stop searching until Gabriela was chosen.  Her surgery went well but she had to be taken back to surgery because of excessive bleeding. She then recover-ed well and was able to leave the hospital five days after surgery. After the surgery her mother was thrilled to see her little girl for the first time with pink rather than blue lips. (Santiago)

Yahedi was five years old and lives in Monte Plata with her mother and grandmother.  When she was 10 months old she was diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect (VSD) and subaortic stenosis. Her surgery went well and by the time the surgical team left, Yahedi was stable and recovering well. She was expected to leave the hospital a week after surgery. Yahedi likes to paint and plans to be a famous painter (!) when she grows up. (Monte Plata)

Dolores was twelve-years old when she arrived from Albania to receive bone treatment  from The Hospital for Joint Disease in New York City. Due to the extensive surgeries required, Worldwide Children's Foundation arranged for Dolores and her parents to stay in New York for the duration of her six month treatment. Her life changed in many positive ways, she is now a thriving young adult. (Albania)

Victoria was nine years old and lived in San Cristobal with her parents and two younger brothers. Victoria grew up with constant respiratory infections, which her pediatrician thought were due to weak lungs. Finally at six years of age another pediatrician told her mother that Victoria had a heart defect that needed surgery. Victoria was diagnosed with an atrial septal defect (ASD). For two years Victoria was not able to attended school due to her excessive tiredness. On the day of the surgery, Victoria prayed for herself and for the other ones having surgery. Victoria’s surgery and recovery went very well and she was able to leave the hospital four days after surgery. She and her family were very excited that she would finally be able to go back to school and have a normal life. (San Cristobal)

Nihanyelli was 10 years old and lived in Santiago with her paternal grandmother.  Her mother lived with her new husband and Nihanyelli’s step brother; her father lived with his new wife and Nihanyelli’s two step sisters. When Nihanyelli was born she was diagnosed with a double-outlet right ventricle and pulmonary stenosis. Her grand-mother spent eight years trying to get her the much needed corrective surgery. Nihanyelli’s surgery went well but she had to be taken back to surgery because of excessive bleeding. She then had an uneventful recovery. After the surgery she looked at herself in the mirror and could not believe how pretty she looked with pink lips. Nihanyelli loves to write. She wants to become a soap opera writer and earn enough money to vacation in Acapulco! (Santiago)

Rigoberto is 12 years old and lives in Puerto Plata with his parents. He was always tired but his parents thought that he was just being lazy.  Then, when he was 11 years old, his fatigue was explained when he was diagnosed with an atrial septal defect (ASD). His surgery and recovery went very well and he was able to leave the hospital four days after surgery. (Puerto Plata)

© 2020 by WWCFNY.  //  info@wwcfny.org

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