In East Timor, Australia's "next door neighbour", there are hundreds of young people with the hearts of 80 year olds. Their heart disease is treatable but their future prospects are grim because specialist cardiac care is unavailable to them in East Timor.
East Timor Hearts Fund is bridging the gap. Our volunteer medical team undertakes screening clinics in East Timor to identify young people with life-threatening heart disease who can be helped in Australia.
We arrange surgery and fly the patient to Australia for treatment, along with a health support worker and often a family member. Support for patients while they are in Australia includes local transport by volunteers, arranging pre- and post-operative health care, accommodation, volunteer visitors, and care packages including warm clothing and telephone cards. We also provide follow-up medical monitoring after the patients' return to East Timor.
These young people have the potential to be East Timor's best and brightest. With the continued goodwill of Australian supporters they have a second chance at life.
Young mum, Immaculada, 22, is one of our patients. Immaculada had very limited life expectancy due to her heart disease. She faced the prospect of not seeing her children, aged two and four, grow up. After surgery in 2012 Immaculada said: "Now I can look forward to a long life with my family. I just want to get well, be normal again and take care of my babies."
Marciano, a 23-year-old university student, had surgery in 2011 after living with debilitating symptoms for years. Before his surgery Marciano said: "If my heart disease can get cured, I will be very happy because I am going be normal as my friends and I will think of my future. I will study hard and work hard to finish my school and I am going to develop my country."
Marciano is now back at university and doing well. Now he can play soccer again.
How will the funds be used?
All gifts help pay for patient needs including surgical procedures, transport and accommodation, as well as other vital projects. For information about our plan to build health capacity and tackle the root causes of poor heart health in Timor-Leste go to http://www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/about-us/
Key areas of expenditure for funds donated:
Your gift can help us to assist young East Timorese people with life-threatening heart disease.
- A $50 gift will pay for a pre-paid phone or phone card that will help a patient receive comfort from home and share the good news
- A $100 gift will pay for a warm sweater and socks for a patient who would otherwise shiver in cool Melbourne weather
- A $1000 gift will pay for accommodation for a patient and their accompanying relative or health support worker during their stay in Melbourne
- A $20,000 gift is the ultimate! Take the challenge, rally your workplace, club or family and friends and set the annual challenge to raise enough to financially support a patient's surgical procedure. Please contact us for fundraising ideas - we have plenty!
Please join us on Twitter, Facebook or our website at http://www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au
to check out volunteering opportunities and see how your gift is making a difference to young East Timorese people with life threatening heart disease.