They had never met before, but two Facebook friends, Glenn and Siraj would connect over a love of music and eventually work together to save the life of Avita, Siraj’s daughter and our first patient from Nepal, marking the organization’s 59th country.
Siraj’s daughter, Avita was born with a congenital heart defect called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Premature, underweight and exhibiting blue baby syndrome, Avita spent her first four months in intensive care at the hospital in Kathmandu. When the family was told that Avita would have to gain 8 kilos to undergo a lifesaving operation, they began to search for other means of care.
That’s when Siraj reached out to Glenn Tamir, an American living in the Galil and a lover of world music, who he befriended on Facebook 7 years ago when a mutual friend who brings artists around the globe together, connected them.
Siraj is one of the world’s greatest Esrag players. An instrument similar to a sitar that originated in India and made its way to Nepal, the Esraj is played by less than 10 master musicians in the world.
When Siraj learned of his daughter’s heart condition he confided in Glenn. But it wasn’t until Glenn’s wife, Debby attended a ceremony in Israel that honored an Israeli philanthropist and contributor to Save a Child’s Heart that he was made aware of the work of the organization. It was then that Glenn reached out to our director, Simon Fisher, and the planning began. Avita’s tests were scanned and she was approved to come to Israel for a life-saving catherization procedure.
In mid-February, Avita turned one (she shares her birthday with Glenn)! and in early March, she and her parents were escorted to the airport by Ambassador Benny Omer the Israeli ambassador to Nepal and picked up from Ben Gurion by Glenn to be brought to the Wolfson Medical Center where Avita was checked and later admitted for a successful catherization procedure on Thursday, March 7, 2019. While in Israel, Avita was also visited by H.E. Anjan Shakya from the Embassy of Nepal, Tel Aviv. Avita returned to the hospital for an echo that revealed she is doing well! Avita’s parents are now excited to return to Nepal with their healthy baby.