2013 has been a year of tremendous progress for our program in Nicaragua, from sponsoring surgical missions to completing construction of our new Pediatric Heart Center of Nicaragua. This achievement would not have been possible without the support of our Global Giving donors and friends, some of whom gave significantly, and some who gave generously from limited resources, but all are appreciated. We did this together.
In July, the new Heart Center hosted a celebration which drew a large audience to hear speeches, to see a commemorative plaque unveiled, and to remember those who worked so hard to bring it about.
And now, after diligent efforts to continue the equipping and supplying of the new, modern facility, the honor of the inaugural teaching surgical mission to ever visit the new Heart Center is given to Eduardo da Cruz, MD, SoH President, partnered with noted cardiac surgeon, James Jaggers, MD, both of whom are colleagues at Children's Hospital of Colorado. Their team is drawn from the excellent medical staff at their own hospital, many of whom have gone on the early surgical mission trips to our program in Managua.
This larger-than-usual team includes experts in equipment maintenance and repair, hospital inventory systems, and childhood heart disease prevention.
Symbolizing the continuation of collaborative support from both the American and European teams, the second mission, scheduled for early 2014, will be led by noted pediatric heart surgeon, Dr. Daniel DeWolfe, and his mission team from CdE Belgium (La Chaine de l'Espoir--Belgique).
Returning to the SoH offices in New York this week for pre-mission details, Philippe Lerch, Director of the Nicaragua program, described the impact of the recent outbreak of dengue fever which hospitalized 64 children and brought an all-out effort to provide transfusion equipment to the main hospital. Latest dengue victim statistics are showing improvement in recent reports. Board member Michel Berty stopped in to greet him and receive an update.
The new Heart Center is already becoming the hub of activity, Mr. Lerch reports. Two areas are showing robust activity: the Cardiology offices are now open and busy with visitors who can enjoy the air contitioned rooms or the new flower gardens where benches are being added to already installed swings for the children. Also, the pre-operative rooms when children and their families stay comfortably while they are awaiting tests and their appointment for surgery.
Mr. Lerch proudly indicated that Surgeons of Hope has the first public heart hospital in Nicaragua. We remain grateful for your participation in our achievement.
As we near the end of the year, we hope that you will enjoy the convivialty of peace the the season offers, and that when you think of your end-of-the-year giving, you will remember Surgeons of Hope and the truly amazing work that we are doing to bring hope to the young children of Nicaragua. We thank you most sincerely for your spontaneous and heartfelt compassion and generosity.
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