At the end of August 2015 a group of 18 Young Leaders took on the task of climbing Kilimanjaro in order to raise funds and awareness for SACH. It took 61 porters, 8 guides, 3 chefs, and 3 camp managers to herd 18 climbers climbing in support of Save a Child‘s Heart, to the Uhuru peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. None of them really knew what they were in for; the cold, the mental and physical exhaustion, and one conversation with a guide named Little Moses which would change the trip for them all. Little Moses, an experienced hiking guide and local Tanzanian from Arusha, talked to the hikers daily about the mountain, his country, history, and politics. When they were afforded the extra breath, they, in turn, told him about the reason that they were climbing his beloved mountain: Save a Child‘s Heart.
As they were explaining the goals and the missions of SACH, Little Moses stopped in his tracks and began to tell the climbers a story that gave even further meaning to our trip. Moses‘s niece Queen was born with a hole in her heart, and at 18 months still weighed only 18 kgs. Her illness was obvious to her family by her lack of energy, lack of appetite, and significantly delayed development, especially in comparison to her healthy brothers and cousins. From the mountain it was immediately arranged that Moses would bring Queen to meet with Dr. Sagi Assa, SACH cardiologist who was climbing with the group and his teenage daughter, as soon as they descended from their trek.
As they climbed, it only took an hour into their ascent to the Summit to forget why they were climbing this mountain in the first place, as they were all struggling for breath and focusing on each achy step after another into the icy cold wind. But behind them, singing all the way to the top in support was Little Moses. He hadn‘t forgotten why they were climbing. Queen‘s surgery will be sponsored by the funds raised through the climb, and her family will be spared of any financial burden during the medical process. So he sang, and they climbed, until all 18 of them reached the peak. It was an incredible accomplishment for all of them, but the real celebration for the Kilimanjaro 2015 climb is still to come.
On Friday, while they were all nursing their wounds and washing away a week‘s worth of dirt and dust, Little Moses brought Queen and her mother to the lodge to meet with Dr. Assa who would examine her case. As fate would have it, Queen,had been screened by a SACH doctor two months prior, during a medical mission to Tanzania, and deemed a candidate for life-saving heart surgery.
Following Dr. Assa‘s evaluation, her case has now been expedited, and she has arrived in Israel! It will be a difficult procedure, but the surgical team at SACH has treated many cases like Queen‘s and she will be in the best possible hands.
Queen underwent successful life-saving surgery and is recovering well.