The search to find Julius may have taken place recently, but this journey really began years ago...
Julius Bernard Kaijage was an energetic six year old boy with congenital heart disease that came to have a screening at a Save a Child's Heart medical mission in Tanzania. His heart defect has been discovered 6 months prior when his parents noticed he was having great difficulty performing regular activities, his father found him sitting on the path on his way home from school and he was too exhausted to make it home and his heart was beating rapidly. Due to his health, he had to be taken out of school.
Upon screening Julius' heart, most of the medical team didn't feel they could operate successfully on such a rare and complicated case, except for Dr. Aki Tamir, who had fallen in love with Julius' sweet personality and was persistent that the child must be brought to Israel for a chance at having his life saved.
On May 16th of 2012, Julius was admitted to Wolfson Medical Center in Israel and underwent complete surgical repair of his congenital heart disease by Dr. Lior Sasson and his team, through Save a Child’s Heart. To the relief and joy of all, it was an utter success. Such a success, in fact, that it inspired the creation of a documentary film, called A Heartbeat Away.
So why were we looking for Julius?
After more than 5 years since we've last seen him, we discovered the name of the school that Julius attends deep in Tanzania. During our recent medical mission in the country, a team from Save a Child's Heart including Judy Shore, the co-chair of Save a Child's Heart U.S., got in a jeep and started driving.
...And they found him.
It was a long-awaited and beautiful moment, reuniting with the now-healthy little boy that stole everyone's hearts.
Julius is very close with his father, he enjoys playing with his siblings, and he is happy to be healthy again so that he can play soccer, help his mother carry water, and most importantly of all ride his bike.