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Introducing ‘Our Hearts Are In Jamaica’

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Building upon the success of the ‘2009 Our Hearts Are in Uganda’ and ‘2010 Our Hearts are in El Salvador’ global initiatives, Gift of Life International announces the ‘2011 Our Hearts Are in Jamaica’ program.

The ‘Our Hearts Are in…’ programs in Uganda and El Salvador are responsible for the saving of 264 Ugandan and Salvadoran children’s lives over the past two years.  In addition, they have set the context for the development of sustainable pediatric cardiac surgery programs in those countries.

Over the past 36 years GOL programs have helped many Jamaican children either by bringing them to their communities for surgery or by sponsoring medical missions to Jamaica.  It is with this in mind that GOLI has decided to focus our efforts in 2011 in Jamaica.  The ‘Our Hearts Are in Jamaica’ initiative will see Gift of Life International join efforts with not only the GOL programs that want to participate but also with our global partners Chain of Hope UK and Chain of Hope Jamaica to develop a sustainable pediatric cardiac surgery in Jamaica. 

Presently, 400 Jamaican children a year are born with congenital heart defects.  Chain of Hope has been working for the past 15 years to address this need.  Gift of Life International is proud to partner with them to create a pediatric cardiac center and program.  In order to do so, we will need to finance the training of the Jamaican Team of surgeons, cardiologists, perfusionists, anesthesiologists and nurses while at the same time supporting surgeries at Bustamante Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica.

Presently, The Jamaican Team is performing 1 to 2 surgeries per week.  Our efforts will help to increase their ability to care for more children while providing them with the training necessary to do a wider-range of cases.  Additionally, it is important to note that Digicel Jamaica (the leading cellular communications company in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean and Central America) has committed $1.1 million to the construction of a pediatric cardiac wing to Bustamante Hospital


Our goal is ultimately to empower the Jamaican Surgical Team to operate on Jamaican children on their own while reducing the current waiting list.
We would like to ask individual Gift of Life programs to help us accomplish this goal.

The most pressing need in Jamaica is financial support to conduct surgeries at Bustamante Hospital.  This includes training, equipment and the actual financing of surgeries on children.

We would like to request that Gift of Life Programs that have affiliated hospitals in their area sponsor a child and when that child returns to Jamaica they make a contribution of $5,000 to the efforts in Jamaica to empower the local surgical team to treat another child.  In other words, the child that the Gift of Life program sponsors and arranges to be operated on becomes an Ambassador for another child to be operated on by the Jamaican Team at Bustamante Hospital in Kingston. 

Gift of Life International has set a goal of 15 Jamaican children being operated on in the United States through United States-based GOL programs.  This means that 30 Jamaican children would receive the gift of life through this program -  15 would be operated on in the United States and 15 would be operated on in Jamaica.  All 30 of these children would be funded by GOL programs.

We have arranged for our Global Partners Airline Ambassadors and American Airlines to fund the tickets for the 15 children and their parents. 

Please help us put the hearts of all GOL programs in Jamaica this year – to save 30 lives and to develop a sustainable pediatric cardiac surgery program at Bustamante Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica; thus, creating a legacy that will sustain and treat hundreds of Jamaican children in the future.

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Written by jamarch