It took a global effort to save the life of an Afghan toddler suffering from a congenital heart defect. Israeli doctors, who voluntarily carry out heart surgeries for Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) foundation, this week performed life-saving surgery on the two-year-old boy at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.

The toddler, Yakub, had a harrowing journey from a remote Afghan village to Holon that included a six-hour trek through snow, securing immediate permission for entry into Israel, and flights from Kabul to Istanbul and Tel Aviv. When Yakub arrived in Israel, he was blue.

“Yakub came to us at the very last minute. He arrived in poor condition, was extremely underweight and we had to revive him twice before getting into the operating room,” Dr. Rachaeli Sion Sarid told Ynet News. “He suffers from a congenital heart defect that prevents blood flow to the lungs and reduces oxygen in the blood. He underwent emergency surgery and his condition is stable. He is breathing alone and he even shook our hands and is eating alone.”

Yakub, who was accompanied by his father on the journey to Israel, is now recovering at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of Wolfson Medical Center.

Yakub’s father speaks only Pashtu and is communicating with local hospital staff via a group of volunteers from the Afghan community in Israel.

Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), an international humanitarian organization based in Israel, has saved the lives of more than 4,000 children around the globe through its lifesaving heart initiatives.