I recently met a 15-year-old boy named Joseph during a medical mission in Abuja, Nigeria with Bridge of Life in partnership with ANPA. Joseph and his mother, Rosemary, were first in line every morning to receive medical care. Unfortunately, our team was not able to treat Joseph. He suffers from a congenital heart condition called tetralogy of Fallot that requires corrective surgery. This condition causes oxygen-poor blood to flow out of his heart to the rest of his body, leaving him fatigued and out of breath. Yet, Joseph and Rosemary still returned to the clinic every single day and waited from morning until evening with the hope that he might receive treatment.
I think of Joseph often since returning from Nigeria in mid-April. He’s 15 going on 16, but wouldn’t pass for over 10 years old. He was quiet, but determined. He was strong, but scared. He was smart, but recently had to quit school because he is too weak to attend. He graciously accepted food from our team, but sensibly tucked it away to later share with his four siblings. His eyes looked wise and his face mature, but he seemed young and innocent as he climbed on to his mother’s back each evening for her to carry him home.
Surgery is the only effective treatment for Joseph. In fact, less than a quarter of children with tetralogy of Fallot that are not treated surgically live past the age of 10. Joseph has fought his way to get this far, but his symptoms are quickly worsening and we need to move quickly for Joseph to survive. ONE surgery would allow him to live a relatively normal life.
The sad reality of Joseph’s situation is that the single obstacle that prevents him from receiving lifesaving surgery is money. We have identified a reputable surgeon in Nigeria that can perform the operation, but we can’t move forward without the necessary funds. $13,000 will cover travel, preoperative investigations, surgery, hospital stay, medications and follow-up.
Please open your hearts to Joseph, and let’s save his heart! Thank you in advance for any contribution you can offer!