Tameeka Isaacs turned eight on the day she received her heart surgery. The grade 3 pupil from Heath Park in the Eastern Cape is now leading a healthy life and can breathe normal. Her overjoyed mom Cadwin Isaacs said Tameeka could now play and interact with other children.

“My baby girl is now living a normal life and can now breathe properly. She even plays a lot these days,” she said. South Africa has hundreds of children who are on the heart surgery waiting list. It is estimated that 1 out of every 1 000 babies is born with Congenital Heart Disease and that every six hours a new born is added to the waiting list. Currently, the Eastern Cape Province alone has more than 200 children who are on the waiting list for heart surgery.

Tameeka was born with a hole in her heart, which made breathing difficult. She was amongst the thousands of children who are on the waiting list to receive the life-changing operation.

New of her operation was unbelievable, even to Tameeka. Post surgery, the first words out of her mouth were: “’mommy did they do it?’ I said yes and she started smiling and my heart was filled with joy,” she added.

“I would like to thank her doctors especially Dr Jason for saving the life of my child. Everyone at the hospital was nice to us and they brought presents for her and sang for her before the operation was performed.”

Pelo Foundation has partnered with Busamed Private Hospital Group and Wings and Wishes, which transports the children and an accompanying guardian to Busamed hospital and back home.

Dr Michael Janson from Busamed Private Hospital in Paardevlei said if these children, all born with severe heart conditions, do not receive immediate medical intervention, they could suffer further health complications or may even die.

“Normally, children can be on the waiting list for about two years. I hope that there will be many entities that will come forward and collaborate so that we may assist in saving more lives,” he said.

Ms Dudu Mvimbi Leshabane from Pelo Foundation said: “There are thousands of children who are waiting to receive heart surgeries or treatments. If these children do not get immediate attention, they may die.”

The foundation aims to raise more funds to ensure that children with Congenital Heart Disease receive life-saving surgery and continue to receive medical treatment that could give them a chance to live normal lives.

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