November 12, 2008 by Jeremy · Comments Off
A good portion of our work in the Preemptive Love Coalition involves words. Talking, emailing, blogging, marketing, speaking – we do it all. We talk consistently about funding life-saving heart surgeries for over 3,000 Iraqi kids who are dying on a waiting list. We talk about the need for an urgent intervention of love just so that these kids can survive into adulthood.
Sometimes I wonder if language like that overdoes things a bit. I can’t help some days but feel like it is too hyperbolic, too dramatic.
Today, I don’t feel like that at all.
Two nights ago we got an email from our partnering organization, Brothers Together. When 10-month-old Mohammed got off the plane in Amman for a pre-op screening, his skin was a deep shade of blue from insufficient oxygenation of his blood. He was gasping for breath. They rushed him to the hospital.
But it was too late.
Ten-month-old Mohammed died yesterday.
We’ll probably know more in the next few days about the complications that might have brought this about, about why we lost him on the threshold of hope, about why his heart couldn’t make it just a few weeks more until he could have had surgery that would have probably saved his life. But we already know the three most important facts in the matter:
- Mohammed was born with a broken heart.
- Mohammed died from a broken heart.
- There are still over 3,000 Iraqi kids who are just like Mohammed.
Then, just yesterday, we got a second email: a second child had died during the screening procedures.
So maybe all this talk of “life-saving heart surgeries” and “dying on a waiting list” is just a language game — but it is one that is played for keeps. Dramatic words speak to dramatic realities.
idth=”270″ height=”484″ />There are plenty of you who are thinking these days about what you might give to family and friends to celebrate the upcoming holidays of Christmas, Eid al-Fitr and Hannukah. Many of you get frustrated with the triviality of the tokens we exchange in celebration of God’s faithful compassion represented by these holidays.
If that’s you, I would recommend clicking on the graphic to the left and giving a “Gift of the Heart” this Christmas. You can give a gift (of any amount you choose) in honor of someone you love that will help to save the life of an Iraqi child, whom God loves. (The good news is, he also loves you and the people you love, too!)
And once you give, there is a very nice certificate that you can download to present to your loved one to share with them about the gift of hope, life and a new heart that you are celebrating with them this season.
You could also become a monthly sponsor (again, of any amount you choose) that would allow you to regularly contribute throughout the coming year towards funding life-saving heart surgeries for Iraqi kids whose days are running out without urgent, sacrificial generosity from people like you.
But even dark days like these bring hope. One teenage child was turned away at the last screening because his body was too weak for surgery. The combined effects of his heart defect and raging tuberculosis caused one of the Jewish doctors examining him to compare him to a victim of the Auschwitz concentration camp. But after careful treatment for his TB and close attention to his nutrition, Akram is now ready for surgery that will help bring him to a level of health he has never known before.
Give today so that we don’t have to keep Akram waiting again until it is too late.
A few weeks ago Buy Shoes. Save Lives. took stock of our assets, our debts, our inventory, and our projected future needs and determined that it was time to give a significant chunk of our money to a child named Aras from the Kurdish city of Halabja in Iraq.
Halabja now stands as an emblem of suffering for the Kurdish people; the site of Saddam Hussein’s March 16, 1988 gas attack against Kurds in which 5,000 died in one day.
It felt significant and symbolic to make our first child the child of the city whose scars are carried on today by children who suffer heart disease – nearly 20 years later – because of the gas attacks of that day.
We were nine and younger in 1988, and yet we feel our hands are dirty and that we am somehow complicit in the problems and pains of Aras’ people. $5,000 cannot repair decades of hurt – and decades to come – but as far as feelings go, it felt good to give our money away to Aras and his family.
Today Cody escorted a very nervous Aras and his mother to the airport, where they flew for the first time, and landed many delayed hours later in Amman, Jordan. They were greeted by one of the many partners in this endeavor, Brothers Together. Aras should be headed on to Jordan later this week for surgery.
We are nearly speechless at how amazing this has been. And we’re fairly certain we’ve received new hearts in this process, as well.
November 8, 2007 by Jeremy · Comments Off
This is cross-posted from our partner Brothers Together’s site. We wanted you to hear this story so you could feel the gravity of the problem these famillies face.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Sister Died of Heart Disease
Filed by Donna Petrel
A sleepy Hussein arrived with his mother from the Save A Child’s Heart house this morning, along with Mustafa and his mother, for his echo and further tests. Yesterday Dr. Katz attempted to do an initial echo on Hussein, but none of us could settle him down enough for the echo to be done. Because it was late in a very long day, the doctor decided that waiting until today would be best for all of us, and dismissed Hussein to the SACH house. This morning Hussein was given a syrup to make him sleepy so he would not be distressed over the echo, and even though he arrived at the hospital already sleepy, this did not stop his fearful fretting for quite awhile. Yet when he finally fell asleep, he was peaceful during an hour-plus long echo by several doctors who were discussing his complicated case as they went through the examination. Hussein awoke before the end of the exam, and Dr. Tamir spoke to him gently about helping him grow up to be a big boy, which seemed to settle him back down so the exam could be finished to the doctor’s satisfaction.
During today’s exam when Dr. Tamir took some family information about Hussein, his mother told of the death of an older daughter who also apparently had heart problems. She told of how the doctors in Iraq could not help her after she was admitted to the hospital at the age of nineteen, and so after four months, the daughter died. She had shared with me in Amman that one of her children died, but she did not tell me the details. After hearing this today, it helped me realize why she is so anxious to know whether Hussein will be able to have surgery or not.
Later in the day as Hussein still waited at the hospital, this usually shy boy was content to go to the children’s playroom where they were making balloon animals. He also enjoyed playing with his friend Mustafa and visiting with Hedi in his room there. It was determined that both Hussein and Mustafa could return to the SACH house for the night, and come back for more testing later in the week. Tomorrow we hope to visit them there. Please keep praying for Hussein and his mother as they wait for the surgery which will give him a new heart, and give joy to the heart of his dear mother.
November 6, 2007 by Jeremy · Comments Off
Hedi, 8 months old
Thanks to an anonymous gift directly to our partner organization on behalf of Buy Shoes. Save Lives., Hedi will be able to have the operation he needs to fix the hole between the ventricles of his heart. Your advocacy among your friends is apparently working! Keep it up!
Hussein, 3 years old
Hussein is from one of the few Arab (non-Kurdish) families who made it safely to the October screening. Doctors singled him out as urgent, as he periodically runs out of breath and cries. Our partners at Brothers Together took him across the Jordan River Monday with Hedi (above), and thanks to an anonymous gift on behalf of Buy Shoes. Save Lives., his sponsorship was completed at three minutes to midnight the same day!
Today, by the grace of God, Buy Shoes. Save Lives. and Kurdistan Save the Children shook hands on a deal to partner together to address the needs of over 1,000 children registered with KSC who have congenital heart problems needing immediate surgery.
Buy Shoes. Save Lives. agrees to…
- commit as much money as we can to heart surgeries from shoe sales
- promote this cause through photography and video
- be the ambassador to Brothers Together and facilitate the sending of children
Kurdistan Save the Children agrees to…
- promote this cause also through documentaries on the children
- collect all the necessary medical documents
(and wait for it…wait for it…)
- give a MINIMUM of $10,000 a month directly to Buy Shoes. Save Lives. to be put towards heart surgeries via Brothers Together.
Additionally, KSC is seeking to expedite the visa process with the Iraqi Embassy in Jordan. They are also making efforts to get airfare at half price from Iraqi Air.
We are so pleased to see Kurdistan Save the Children and (Mrs.) Hêro Xan Talabanî get behind our efforts to get behind their children.
The Peace of God be with you…
Jeremy, Cody, Jessica & Michelle
Buy Shoes. Save Lives.