Posted on January 25, 2012 at 6:28 PM
Thursday, Jan 26 at 7:51 AM
AUSTIN -- A Nigerian girl is in Austin having a critical operation that could save her life.
Her name is Precious. Her mother, Daisy Enaruna, says the three year old is too young to fully understand that her heart needs help.
“Like yesterday, I told her, 'Precious, I can't wait for my baby to get well,'” Enaruna said. “She was like, 'Who is sick?'”
This week a journey from Nigeria to Austin brought Precious to Dell Children's Medical Center where life-saving surgery will take place.
“She has an extra artery. She has a hole between some of the pumping chambers in her heart,” said Dr. Kenneth Fox. “It makes it so her heart has to work a lot harder just to get the usual amount of blood to the body.”
When her mother found out there was no treatment for Precious in Nigeria, she sent dozens of emails to organizations around the world, hoping someone could help.
“We were determined to give her the best of health with the help of God,” Enaruna said.
That's how she found HeartGift.
“We got her email and the subject line said 'Please help save my daughter's life,'” said HeartGift’s Executive Director Heather Alexander. “You can't help but open that kind of email. Fortunately, she qualified for our program, and we were able to bring her here.”
HeartGift Austin partners with Dell Children's to provide critical heart surgery for kids who don't have access to this kind of care in their own country.
The operation costs about $24,000. Volunteers, donations, and a host family help make the life-saving surgery possible.
“The good thing is we can help those children,” said Dr. Fox. “The bad thing is, there's an awful lot more out there we don't have access to, and we can't help.”
The operation takes between four and five hours. Doctors stop the heart, repair the hole, and tie off the extra artery. Doctors say it's a fairly routine procedure, and will have Precious enjoying an active healthy life for many years to come.
For more information about HeartGift, here’s their website here