A chance encounter with a stranger in Ghinea connects a mother and her son to Save a Child’s Heart.

Jonathan, or 'Junior’ as his family calls him, is a two-and-a-half year-old boy from Kankan, Guinea. When Jonathan was six months old, he and his parents – Edina and Jerome – were visiting family in Conakry, the capital of Guinea. There, the family observed that Jonathan was sweating profusely and was having trouble feeding and suggested that Edina take him to a clinic to be evaluated. 

Eventually, after examinations and observations, doctors realized Jonathan would need urgent medical attention not available in the country. 

Jonathan was diagnosed with double chambered right ventricle (DCRV), ventricular septal defect (VSD), and pulmonary stenosis (PS). DCRV is a rare congenital heart defect in which anomalous tissue divides the right ventricle (lower chamber) into two. VSD is a hole in the wall that separates the upper chambers of the heart. PS is a narrow pulmonary valve, which lets blood flow from the heart to the lungs via the pulmonary artery, slowing the flow and making the right ventricle work even harder. 

One day back in Kankan, Edina brought Jonathan to work with her at the store where she works. A guest of the nearby hotel named George, a Guinean living in Israel, came into the store and struck up a conversation, during which Edina explained her son's diagnosis. 

After George returned to Israel, he saw a TV special about Ivory Coast children and Save a Child's Heart, and immediately connected Save a Child’s Heart to Jonathan’s mother Edina. 

Jonathan successfully underwent life-saving open heart surgery in December, 2021. Jonathan's mother is very thankful. She said, "I was so relieved knowing we could come to Israel together. It is not easy to be here on our own, without a common language, but I am willing to do anything for my son."