Hannah

Myanmar

A girl and her father make it to Israel for her second life-saving heart surgery against all odds.

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Hannah, or 'Ana' as her family calls her, is an eight-year-old girl from Taunggyi, Myanmar.

When it is safe to go outside, Hannah likes to go on picnics with her friends at the park. Her favorite food is buttered noodles and her favorite color is blue. 

Hannah has just completed kindergarten at public school but due to COVID and the coup in Myanmar, has been unable to go to school for the last two years. Hannah’s favorite subject is art and when she grows up she wants to be a doctor. 

At six months old, Hannah's parents noticed that Hannah was very ill, had bluish discoloration, and was constantly crying, but they didn't recognize any of the symptoms. 

Hannah was diagnosed with a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, a condition classified by a combination of four heart defects that commonly occur together and requires urgent surgical treatment to correct to save the life of the patient. 

When Hannah was five, she and her mother made their first trip to Israel for her first life-saving cardiac treatment. After successful surgery, Hanna went home but was told she would need to return in three years for follow-up treatment.

Three years later, COVID-19 and the military coup in Myanmar made the journey back to Israel an exhausting and ominous one. First, they had to find where they could get COVID PCR testing done, which is not always available and very expensive. Hannah and Joseph embarked on their journey with a 12-hour bus ride from their hometown to the capital of Myanmar, where the airport is located. They stayed in the capital for 45 days before they boarded the plane to come to Israel. However, they almost missed their flight due to a last-minute paperwork mix-up. 

Against all odds, Hannah and her father Joseph arrived in Israel in September, 2021 for Hannah's life-saving surgery. 

Joseph explained how stressed and scared he was in those moments. 

"I am so happy for Hannah that we were able to manage to get here. She needs this treatment to get better. I also feel more relaxed here because it is very quiet and I do not need to be scared for my safety or the safety of my daughter," -Joseph said.