Kenyan boy arrives in San Antonio for life-saving heart procedure

Kenyan boy to receive life-saving surgery

SAN ANTONIO -- A 4-year-old boy from Kenya will receive a life-saving heart procedure in San Antonio thanks to 'HeartGift.'

The organization, which provides heart surgeries for children all across the world, has multiple chapters in Texas. Paige Kauffman, the executive director of the San Antonio chapter, said that the organization provides free help to these children through the generosity of its partners like University Hospital and UT Health Science Center.

Kauffman said Hamza will be the 46th child to get a procedure done in San Antonio. His family applied for the procedure and Hamza was chosen to get it done at University Hospital.

Hamza does not have access to medical care in Kenya.

"He has a hole in his heart, which basically is going to decrease his quality of life. It will make it difficult for him to breathe. His life expectancy is going to be significantly decreased," Kauffman noted.

"A colleague of ours from the same village also, benefited from this procedure and introduced it to me and said it's this link that you can try to reach these people," said Bashir, Hamza's father. "We were really excited when I heard the news the child was accepted to be treated here in the United States of America and, all the family, we are happy."

Hamza will also, be celebrating his 5th birthday during his stay in San Antonio. His birthday is nearly a week after his surgery.

"I was teaching him, because in our culture we do not have this, birthdays. So I was telling him okay, but he has been watching on the television and all that. So, one of the funny things he asked me was: ‘Will they give me a cake?’ I said, ‘Yes! They will give you a cake,’" Bashir said.

HeartGift has found a host family to help Hamza and his father during their five-week stay in San Antonio. HeartGift said that, by this fall, it will have helped 300 children.

(© 2016 KENS)


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