Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Have A Heart!

It took more than 24 straight hours, and 18 of them spent on two airplanes, to get my body back here in Oregon yesterday after 5 months in Africa.

By body is here ... though it is experiencing a re-calculation for 10 different time zones ... and it arrived here for a celebration with my kids and grandkids who were excited about my return! And, whom I had missed SO much.

But ... my heart is still somewhere else.

For several reasons.

But, let me explain WHY for just one of the primary reason.


It is simple.  The reason I know my heart is back in Uganda is because of her .... Rania ... (pronounced Laa-knee-ah).  I woke up this morning and my mind, heart, and emotions went directly to this little girl who is currently in the pediatric ward at International Hospital Kampala back in Uganda.

Rania and her mother
God is the only explanation for Rania still being alive.  Her echocardiogram revealed that she has a heart with transposed arteries.

Transposition of the great arteries is a serious, but rare heart defect present at birth (congenital), in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed.  This condition is usually detected either prenatally or within the first hours to weeks of life.

Rachel discovers Rania and falls in love with her
Rania's heart condition was discovered when she was five months old!  The North Idaho Medical Team, whom Next Generation Ministries hosted, was giving free medical clinics in remote villages outside of Jinja, Uganda, over the past two weeks. It was obvious that this child had a serious health issue when she was examined by Rachel, one of the nurses on the mission, our very first day out.

This reversal changes the way blood circulates through the body, leaving a shortage of oxygen in blood flowing from the heart to the rest of the body.  Without an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood, the body cannot function properly and the child faces serious complications or death without treatment.

The team doctor heard a murmur of Rania's heart combined with severe shortness of breath.  He ordered a echocardiogram, which confirmed the transposed arteries.

Case solved.  Solution administered.  Right?  Corrective surgery "soon" after birth is the usual treatment for transposition of the great arteries.  Having a baby with this condition can be alarming, but now that it was identified, with proper treatment, the outlook was promising.  Right?

WRONG!

Though the baby was transported by ambulance from Jinja to Kampala, in order for her to be on oxygen throughout the journey, and though she was admitted in the Uganda Heart Institute (UHI), a few days later she was discharged without any treatment prescribed!

WHY?

Because that corrective surgery is unavailable in Uganda.

This five month old child has survived a severe heart defect that should have yielded a burial for her months ago.  Now her medical issue had been clearly identified, but there was no way to fix it.

Or was there?

Jeff Wagner of Morning Star Foundation
explains the process to Mama Rania & Roger Tenywa
I made the decision to have baby Rania brought to International Hospital Kampala, with her mother, for admission, in order to provide competent and caring monitoring of her condition.

I then wrote an email of inquiry to Jeff & Niki Wagner, the directors of the Uganda branch of Morning Star Foundation.   This foundation, with efforts in the nations of China and Uganda, partners with local grassroots organizations throughout Uganda to identify needy children, both orphaned and in families, with congenital and acquired heart disease who will die without treatment.  When the Uganda Heart Institute is unable to provide the care necessary, many children in Uganda with heart disease must travel overseas to receive heart surgery.

GOOD NEWS!  Roger & Mama Rania
heard they are taking baby for surgery in India
The email I wrote requested assistance since the foundation specializes in meeting this type of need.  The response included two factors critical to our need.  (1) The foundation was closed to accepting any new referrals because their list is so long and the foundation is responsible for raising funds for referrals, unless (2) the child has somebody who has pledged to raise the support!

The North Idaho Medical Team and Next Generation Ministries made a commitment to raise the funds and get the heart surgery necessary for Rania in order to save her life. Since she has been kept alive by God up to this point, both organizations considered this opportunity God's invitation to join Him in saving Rania's life.

Rania on oxygen at IHK when she needs it
The goal set for getting Rania to India for her surgery is $9,000.  This amount, amazingly, includes generating a legal birth certificate, passports, visas, travel, accommodation (normally 1 month for the patient and attendees), food, airfare, transportation, yellow fever vaccinations, medical evaluation by UHI prior to travel, surgery, medical testing and medications, and extra days in ICU or general ward if necessary.

The echocardiogram has already been sent to Narayana Health in India as a requirement for acceptance into the program.  We received a reply from the hospital and Rania has already been accepted for surgery.  The desire is to get her to India by the end of June.  Her birth certificate and passports are already being worked on by Rogers Tenywa (a temporary associate of NGM) in cooperation with Elisha Ezra Hunter (Medical Director for NGM Medical).

Decide ... Initiate ... Mobilize!

We need each of you to make a decision to get involved in this team effort or pass on the invitation. We request that those who decide to be a part of this effort take initiative with that decision by donating to the Rania Fund at Next Generation Ministries (NGM), 29940 South Dhooghe Road, Colton, OR 97017. We further request that you mobilize others to release their resources so that we can raise the goal of $9,000 in just a few weeks so that airfare can be organized and purchased by the end of June, as well as pay all other expenses.

Please ... help us save the life of this baby girl who has captured my heart.  This baby comes from a family that is more poor than you can imagine.  Mama Rania doesn't even have a cell phone ... which is nearly unheard of here in Uganda!  Even deep in the villages.  This explains why the baby was in such bad condition for so long.

Send a contribution, no matter how small to NGM.  Don't underestimate your gift.  Block, copy, and paste the link of this blog on your Facebook page.  Share it with others.  Take the invitation to you place of work.  Share it with your fellow employees and/or employer. Talk about it with your family. Be a person of influence.  Be a part of this experience being offered.

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