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03 Feb 2015

Coast Trek for Kids in Cambodia

The San’s Coronary Care Unit is organising a 20km Coastal Trek fundraise for Open Heart International.

Open Heart International (OHI) is a humanitarian aid program coordinated by Sydney Adventist Hospital which provides free cardiac, orthopaedic, ophthalmic and women’s health procedures in developing countries around the world.
OHI volunteers have been travelling to Cambodia since 2007 performing free cardiac surgery on children who otherwise would not survive.
While trip volunteers will pay their own way and donate their time and expertise, money raised from the Coastal Trek will help cover the supply and other costs associated with life-saving surgery.
The hike from Narrabeen Lakes to Palm Beach will take place on Sunday 1st March 2015.
In 2014 OHI changed the lives of more than 20 children.
OHI patient 7-year-old Vath was one of the lucky ones. Vath was born with a rare and complex congenital heart defect known as "Tetralogy of Fallot" and wasn't going to survive into adulthood without open-heart surgery. His condition, which in Australia is identified and repaired at birth or early infancy, involves 4 heart defects; a large ventricular septal defect, pulmonary stenosis, right ventricular hypertrophy and an overriding aorta. It occurs in approximately five in every 10,000 babies.
In Cambodia there is limited free access to cardiac treatment and without OHI’s intervention, Vath wouldn’t have had a chance at living a normal life.
When OHI first met Vath he had bluish coloured skin, clubbed fingers and toes and extreme shortness of breath, it was clear his heart wasn’t supplying enough oxygen to the blood. He desperately needed surgery but he the team was afraid he was too weak to survive such an invasive procedure.
In 2013 OHI volunteers maximised his chance of survival by correcting one of his four heart defects with a BT Shunt, to hopefully get him well enough to survive full corrective surgery in the future. Vath’s second open-heart operation in 2014 was long and complicated but successful. He made a full recovery and will now live a healthy and normal life.
To help OHI help more children like Vath in the future and join volunteers in the Coast Trek. Registration costs $50. Each participant is encouraged to raise $500 in sponsorship. Go to www.ohi.org.au for more information.


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