The Daily Aztec

Lecture heals hearts

by Tara Kistler

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Save a Child’s Heart Foundation has focused on raising money to provide surgeries to children with heart problems. The program’s co-founder Dr. Arie Schachner and chief surgeon Lior Sasson came to San Diego State last Thursday on behalf of the Israel Start Up Nation Series organization to raise money for children who need surgery.

According to The Children’s Heart Foundation, one out of 100 children suffer from a congenital heart defect. The program is non-discriminatory and reaches out to children from different backgrounds, religions and cultures, who all have heart problems that can be detrimental to their development.

Ami Cohen, the founder of SACH, had a vision to change the world by helping others whose governments or financial situations could not afford treatment for children in need of surgeries.

The organization started in 1995 and has helped more than 2,800 children in more than 44 countries. To provide the surgeries each costing $10,000, the program relies on donations and fundraisers. These funds cover transportation for the child and a loved one to the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel. It also covers expenses for the surgery and pre- and post- operation care.  According to the lecture, half of the group’s patients are currently Palestinian children.

One of the organization’s main accomplishments is promoting medical training in countries in order to have reliable surgeries worldwide. Some developing countries can complete minor procedures, but lack the knowledge and equipment to perform major surgeries for conditions such as congenital heart disease.

“We have students from all over the world coming to the patient house, volunteering, spending time with the children after and before the surgeries,” Sasson said. “They get a sense of what it is like to save a life, it cannot be described in words and I think they will be better people that can serve us and our children the best.”

The foundation has gained recognition from the European Union and the United Nations. Throughout the years, the organization has trained 77 medical professionals and is working to improve its telecommunications unit that can teach hands-on training to surgeons and medical personnel.

SACH is hoping to build its first international hospital within the coming years. With the support of donors and surgeons, the organization can continue to save lives around the world. 02_04_13_News_SaveaHeart_JM 02_04_13_News_SaveaHeart2_LE

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