The Rotary Gift of Life held clinics this past weekend at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. Heidi Hess who has been coming to Belize for the past seventeen years spoke about the program.
Heidi Hess: Gift of Life is a Rotary based program where we identify children that have heart problems that they are born with and they need to have surgery. We identify those children and we find places for them to go have their surgery at different centers around the world. Every child in Belize can be seen that has a heart problem and every year we find children that need to have heart surgery and we find places for them to have procedures and its always been our dream to actually add to our team here, to actually start to be able to do some procedures here at the hospital and so today we were so happy because we were actually able to accomplish that. I had a lady come in and she brought in her two sons that she just wanted to have checked but it turns out when she was 11 years old she had a Gift of Life Heart Surgery in New York and then she shows up today a mother of two children so that is very rewarding thing for us to see that children we treated many years ago are now adults and having their own children.
We also spoke with Shamika Smith. Her son Lionsford had a surgery when he was just four months old.
Shamika Smith Mother: It was the first day that he was born and they detected his sickness and through the Belmopan Hospital they told us to check Ms. Yvette Burks and the Rotary Gift of Life. We spent one week in the hospital in Belmopan when he was born and we came to Belize City and we did an Echo at Dr. Samuels and from that Echo they send it to Ms. Burkes and then they sent it outside to the doctors and thank God today my son is almost 9 years old but he is doing good. Just his heart affect him a little, you know when he runs he would get tired easily. He can’t play ball and; he always want to be that active like, riding bike. He always wants to go and play football and he can’t do it because he gets very tired but I am very thankful to them today.
Hess says the team comes to Belize twice a year. She said most of the cases are referrals.