June 21, 2011, Updated September 12, 2012

Haji Fdum, a 23-year-old father from Zanzibar, was back in Israel recently for life-saving heart surgery. It was the second time that Fdum turned to the Save a Child’s Heart Foundation for help.

When Fdum was 15, he was brought over by the Israeli humanitarian project for urgent life-saving heart surgery.

“The first time I was in Israel, all I wanted to do was get healthy so I could get educated and play sports,” said Fdum. “This time, I want to get healthy so I can watch my two year old son grow, get educated and play sports.”

Fdum returned to Zanzibar, trained as a police officer, married and has a son.

Earlier this month, doctors at Wolfson Hospital operated on Fdum once again. This time they repaired two valves of his heart that were severely distorted.

“The surgery was nothing short of artistry,” said Dr. Akiva Tamir, a SACH doctor. “There is a very good chance that Haji will never need another surgery.”

SACH, is the largest undertaking in the world whose mission is to improve the quality of pediatric cardiac care for children from developing countries who suffer from heart disease, and to create centers of competence in these countries. To date,

SACH has treated some 2,600 children from Africa, South and Central America, Europe, Asia, and countries in the Middle East.

“Save a Child’s Heart is committed to saving children with heart conditions,” said Dr. Tamir, a pediactric cardiologist involved with SACH. “The question arises what happens when a child we have treated has problems as an adult. We believe that we can’t abandon them. We are committed to saving their life.”

This August, SACH will perform 10 operations in Tanzania before volunteers and doctors climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. The climb is part of an effort to raise $1 million to save 100 more children from Africa.

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