I recently attended a Greenfield Rotary meeting with my friend Stephanie Kinnaman, who is very active in the Gift of Life fundraising. I got to meet Razack that day. I so enjoy taking the time to do these sessions. I always drive away feeling a little different than I did a few hours prior. Things like this really make you appreciate what we all take for granted at times. Some days it's hard not to complain .... but at the end of the day, let's all remember how fortunate we really are! Little Razack is about the same age as our little Olive. He was so tiny, and I can't imagine sending my baby off with a group of people to another country ... but I suppose I would if it were my only option to save the life of my baby. Read his story below, and enjoy the photos of this happy little boy!!
If you are interested in donating to the Gift of Life, let me know and I can point you in the right direction.
Razack is from Burkina Faso, Africa. He is 8 mos old and appears to be the youngest of 6 according to Brandie who found a picture of his family in his medical chart that traveled here with him. He was found to have a VSD and PDA (ventricular septal defect with patent ductus arteriosus- a hole between the lower chambers of the heart and a communication between some vessels that would otherwise normally close by 2 days of life). This certainly affects his growth as he is very small for his age- only 7# 3 oz in February at his screening exam in Burkina Faso, then 9#3oz before surgery and now up to 10# the day before these pics were taken....He arrived escorted by a flight attendant to Brandie's doorstep on March 22nd and will likely go home in mid May. Children's Medical Ministry is who we (Rotary's Gift of Life) partnered with to get little Razack here from Burkina Faso. That is how Brandie got involved. She is a stay at home mom of 2 who is a nurse by training. She has been caring for him and getting him to all of his appointments at Riley to recheck with Dr. Mark Turrentine who did his surgery. He is recovering really well. Brandie says he was unable to even hold his own head up before surgery because he was so weak. With continued growth and improved strength from his repaired heart, he will start to catch up on some the more normal 8 month old milestones like bearing weight on his legs when held, rolling over, then sitting up.
The GOL program in central Indiana is largely funded by Greenfield's Gift of Life auction and dinner every February. The money raised at that event and throughout the year from other Central Indiana Rotary Clubs helps to pay for 5 children (usually with a family member) to travel here to Riley from their home countries where these surgeries are either not done at all or not done safely yet. There are also mission teams sent from Riley to Amman, Jordan where the team operates on approximately 10 kids every Spring from all over the Middle East, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Palestine. A fall mission operates on another 10 children In Kampala, Uganda and also helps to teach doctors and nurses to improve their skills in doing these surgeries themselves at this national referral hospital. The purpose of these trips is to make a more sustainable program so that doctors can operate on their own children in the future safely and effectively. Dr. Mark Turrentine at Riley is the surgeon at Riley who does most if not all of the surgeries at Riley for GOL and plans, coordinates, and operates all of the mission trips.