As we prepare to see out another year and welcome 2016, tonight we'll be toasting our good fortune to have the support of such inspiring medicos, donors and volunteers, without whom we could not offer life-saving heart treatment to Timorese who have no other option. So from our 2015 patients - Angela, Esmenia, Rita, Martinho, Veronica, Tomas, Ana and Rofina - and all of us at ETHF THANK YOU for making all of this possible. We wish you and your families a very happy new year, and hope you will join us again in 2016 as we continue to save lives, and change lives.
After a rocky few weeks it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas for our patient Rofina. Rofina's recovery from her mitral valve repair three weeks ago did not progress as hoped, and so last week our medical team and MonashHeart made the decision to operate again, this time replacing three of Rofina's heart valves. Her recovery has been a rollercoaster, with many anxious moments for our medical adviser Dr Noel Bayley, surgeon Dr Jacob Goldstein and MonashHeart's Professor Richard Harper. She has a long way to go but is now making a steady recovery. Today she was out of bed for the first time, including going outside for some sunshine and looking at the ward's Christmas decorations. Rofina's likely to have a few more days in ICU, and if her recovery continues, several weeks of convalescence before returning to Timor-Leste in the new year. We can only watch with awe at this tiny girl's fighting spirit and thank the skilled teams at MonashHeart and Monash Health.
Meet Scarlett, our littlest supporter, who has just
emptied her piggybank and donated an amazing $21.50 to help kids not much older than her who need heart surgery. Nice work Scarlett! Mum Emma and Dad Matt from Krush are very proud of their junior philanthropist.
If you'd like to be like Scarlett and support our work this festive season you can see our range of charity gifts here you can make a donation via our website here.
A hearty "benvindu" to Rofina, 14, and Ana, 21, our emergency patients. After a big day of travel from Timor-Leste (accompanied by the wonderful Alarico from Bairo Pite Clinic), the girls were weary but cheery. "We are a bit tired but extremely are happy to be here in Melbourne. We are looking forward to our new life after the surgery," they told us before being whisked away for a beautiful Timorese dinner.
More news soon!
We asked 14 year old Rofina, our latest emergency patient, who
arrives in Australia tomorrow, how having heart disease has affected her life. "I feel sad because even walking 10 metres I feel tired and have to stop. Because of the disease I can't go to
school or play with my friends. My hobby is reading but I can't read my books," she told us.
"I am so happy to go to Australia because the doctor has told me that in Australia people will help to cure my disease."
Rofina will have her heart procedure next week, at MonashHeart. We're looking forward to giving her back a normal childhood.
We are proud and humbled to announce former President His Excellency Xanana Gusmão as a patron of our organisation. Minister Gusmão, a government minister and "the Father of Timor-Leste", is a long-term supporter of East Timor Hearts Fund. We're looking forward to him playing an even greater role now that he is a patron.
Minister Gusmão described East Timor Hearts Fund as "a great example of compassion, friendship and effective action by Australian people to assist their neighbour".
"I commend the East Timor Hearts Fund to you. I am proud to be a patron of this organisation and I hope you will also support and encourage its important work," he said.
Read our Patron's full statement here.
Our supporters have seen the results of our work. Results like 14 year old Ana Clarita, who arrived in Australia in June 2014 critically ill and weighing only 24 kilos, now thriving and back at school.
We’ve assisted almost 30 patients since our informal establishment in late 2010, with positive outcomes for all.
To confirm our effectiveness, recently we commissioned an independent social return on investment study, a social cost-benefit analysis designed to measure the value of the health and social impacts created by organisations like ours.
The good news is that the research concluded that our model is highly effective and highly cost effective. The study found that for every dollar invested, our program returns $9 in health and social benefits.
This means that our supporters can give with confidence, knowing that every dollar they contribute not only changes individual lives, but provides social benefits many times over.
The study, conducted by Melbourne researchers Synergistiq, made the following findings:
One of our patients told the researchers:
“Since the surgery I do not feel tired any more, the pains I had on my chest are gone, I can breathe so much easier now. I feel wonderful! I am now a mother of a 3 month old baby daughter. When I look at her I thank God and ETHF for giving me the second chance in life.”
And while you can’t put a value on this sort of transformation, we think it is good for us, and good for our supporters and partners, to have evidence of the benefits of our approach.
To find out more you can download the document, or read it online here.
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