Jonathan is the sixth born in a family of 7 children (3 boys and 4 girls). Born on 28th December 1995 he will be 12 years old this coming December. He is in 5th grade and attends Biotech primary school in Kampala. Like most children who suffer from his illnesses, Jonathan is lagging behind two years in his education. Due to his frequently being ill, he has been missing school. Many times he ends up in the hospital.
Jonathan and his family have come to live in Kabalagala, a suburb of Kampala, because this is where his father could find work. However, their village is Numino in Busia District, Uganda. His father John Olunga is a police officer while his mom Joyce Samanya Olunga is a housewife. They have chosen their current home because it is only a short walk for Jonathan to go to school.
Jonathan’s poor health was first noticed by his parents when he was 4 months old. However, they were not initially aware what caused his illness. Like Graces parents traveled to several hospitals and even looked to traditional doctors before they thought of visiting the Uganda Heart Institute. It was then that they were informed that Jonathan had a heart defect and needed surgery urgently. Fortunately for Jonathan and his family, they would soon be made aware of the Gift of Life program in Uganda and that he was a candidate for their help.
Jonathan loves football although he complains his school doesn’t have enough playgrounds. With a smile on his face he says he prefers to play the midfield. This was received with surprise by his sisters who thought he would go for a less demanding position in the field. Jonathan says that when he grows up he wishes…”to become a doctor so that I can treat people.”
Jonathan is a bright boy and has always been in the top 5% of his class despite his setbacks. In the face of the difficult economic conditions the family is faced with, everyone is overwhelmed by the unexpectedly great news of Jonathan being able to live a healthy life. They are grateful to the people of Gift of Life for their kindness and look forward to Jonathan’s “miracle journey” to New York. Jonathan will be accompanied for his surgery by his mom. His entire community is overwhelmed that he will be helped by strangers from far away.