HOLON, Israel - An 18-year old refugee from Darfur has a new lease on life after undergoing heart surgery at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, just outside Tel Aviv.
Several months ago, Jamal Mohammed fled Sudan, leaving behind his parents and seven siblings.
He crossed the border into Israel, managing to evade Egyptian security forces, who have killed numbers of Sudanese refugees trying to enter Israel illegally.
The teenager, who suffered from a blocked coronary artery, wound up at Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheva, where cardiologists determined that he wouldn't live long without surgical intervention.
But without money or health insurance, the future looked dim.
Enter SACH (Save a Child's Heart), an international organization based in Israel that provides life-saving surgery for children who otherwise couldn't afford it.
The teen was transferred to Wolfson Hospital, where a surgical team, headed by Dr. Akiva Tamir, chief of Pediatric Cardiology, who also serves as chief cardiologist for SACH, performed the needed procedure free of charge.
AGA Medical Corporation donated the costly "umbrella" device needed for the procedure.
Some 70 medical specialists donate their services to SACH to save the lives of children with life-threatening congenital heart defects.
The late Dr. Amram (Ami) Cohen, who served as deputy chief of cardiovascular surgery and chief of pediatric cardiac surgery at Wolfson, founded SACH.
Cohen, who had immigrated to Israel from the U.S. in 1982, died in a climbing accident on Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2001.
Source: The Jerusalem Post