I first learned of Simon’s condition in February 2013 while visiting on of our rural schools in Kafue, Zambia. His father was persistent in trying to help his baby. However, Simon’s life was declining rapidly. He was diagnosed with VSD. and after I saw his medical report, I know he could not live much longer. He had not gained weight for months and was now approaching a 1 year old. It was heartbreaking . Day after day I sent emails and made phone calls, only to be told, over and over again, that there was no surgery available or that they (organization) does not help with this type of surgery. I know that I emailed over 30 organizations asking for direction and help. I had actually come to a place where there was no where else to turn and I knew it would take a miracle. In December, 2013 I received an email from Rob Raylman with 7 words that I will never forget, “This is a child we can help” I don’t think I have ever read such powerful words. Simon is a beautiful, happy, healthy, growing little boy. He is now 15 months old and has a beautiful future to look forward to. He will be a living testimony to the power of HOPE and the ability of people working together across the world to save lives of these precious little ones. Thank you Gift of Life for truly giving life. There is nothing that compares to this gift.
African Vision of Hope
Children are a special gift. Like every parent, we looked forward to seeing our son grow up. The day on which the news about our child’s condition was released to us, our hearts were broken. The dark cloud was quickly covering us because we knew Simon was going to die, the hole in his heart could not be mended by itself. It was very difficult for us to think of any options or to believe that our son could go abroad to access help as we did not have any finances and we knew that time was ticking away. The number of children on the waiting list is many. The health of Simon was going down each moment. The saddest thing was to see another child next to your child passing in your presence and this also broke our hearts. This did not just happen once but many times. We had no option but to watch the same fate take our son.
In December 2013 I received news the Simon would be considered for surgery abroad. It was Christmas Day. Our hearts leaped with joy and we began to see some light at the end of our dark tunnel. Simon was operated on February 4th, 2014. Our son has a new life, he has gained weight, completely healed and is starting to walk. How can we say thank you to you for such a wonderful and marvelous gift you have given to our family. Each time we see Simon smiling we don’t just see him, but we see you our brothers and sisters. This is a mark that cannot be erased in our lives. There are many children in our country who are still waiting for help. Who knows, maybe Simon was allowed to go through this challenge so that many children can access help. Wishing you the very best.
Japhet, Susan, Simon and family