Saturday, March 9, 2013

A note of thanks to the 2013 Team

I would like to thank each of you for participating in the most incredible trip to Rwanda. This was the trip that could be most pivotal to change the direction of how we provide care in many ways. 16 wonderful lives saved!! Looking forward, we have incredible partners, in Boston at the Brigham, and Spokane Healing Hearts, In Australia with Operation Open Heart and in Brussels, Chain of Hope. All expatriate Teams work closely with King Faisal Hospital and the Ministry of Health to raise the awareness for rheumatic heart and congenital heart disease and the need for an in-country program to address the burden of disease. It is remarkable the amount of dedication from 4 such distant locations, all wishing to help Rwanda look at this aspect of care so needed.

I cannot begin to separate out any one person for the participation, it was such a team accomplishment, and we were so dependent on each of you—and everyone did MORE than I could ever imagine. I hope as life settles down, you will take advantage of the opportunity to reflect, talk about our project, and, if you have thoughts to improve or strengthen or raise money, please let us know.

Looking at the larger picture for future care. …there are questions to be addressed as Rwanda wishes for a full time program. Where do we and the other teams fit in in the grand scheme of things? How can we best continue to support with visits and mentorship and move the agenda forward.  These will be questions needing to be addressed in the next few months….Can we help Rwanda make the choices to build a program thoughtfully and progressively. The teams involved are among the in Brussels in Peds., top in Australia and top in US--all in Cardiac Surgery.. Rwanda can have no better support and guidance as they move forward.

Several people seem interested in the global cardiac surgery meeting in Geneva June 27-30, where representatives of the four surgical partners, Team Heart, Operation Open Heart-Australia, Healing Hearts of Northeast and Belgium Chain of Hope, will meet with the cardiologists from Rwanda and key leaders at the Ministry of Health and King Faisal Hospital Rwanda to discuss the future of cardiac surgery in Rwanda. …

To each of you....

Fondly and gratefully, 


Let me just add my sincere thanks to everyone on the team, and to everyone back home who supported us in our efforts. I think, in many ways, this was our most satisfying experience so far. Maybe we are figuring this stuff out. In any event, the team was incredible this year. Everyone jumped in and did absolutely whatever was needed, day or night, no questions asked, and they did it with a spirit of love and generosity that is truly remarkable to behold. We live in such a cynical world that it is very inspiring to me to see the true character of people when they are placed in a position of responsibility in the form of caring for people who have so little and ask so little, and yet who need so much. What a privilege for each of us to be able to do our part, and to see it reflected in the simple smiles of thanks from the patients and their families. Life can have no greater reward. Like Ceeya, I cannot begin to single out individuals for special thanks. You are each and every one so special to us and to the patients we were privileged to serve. Thank you.

With profound gratitude,

“If not this, what? If not here, where? If not now, when? If not us, who?” February 10, 2013