Latest news

Our Run Melbourne ambassador Bete's running for healthy hearts

Eight months after life-saving heart surgery in Australia, Timorese sports teacher Bete Naben is returning to Melbourne to thank donors and show off her newfound health at a fun run.

The mother of three was born with Ventricular Septal Defect or “hole in the heart”. She was too sick to teach, and feared not seeing her children grow up. East Timor Hearts Fund came to her aid last November, flying her to Australia for complex surgery at University Hospital Geelong.

Now well, and able to return to work and play soccer and volleyball, Bete said she wanted to do Run Melbourne to inspire future patients, and to raise awareness about East Timor Hearts Fund’s “amazing” work.

“For me, it will be a great challenge and achievement, because when I was so sick I had given up hope,” Bete said.

“I never thought that I would ever be healthy again, let alone running five kilometres.”

East Timor Hearts Fund CEO Stuart Thomson said Bete was living proof of the value of the fund’s work, which was made possible by donors and medical, community and corporate partners across Australia.

“To see the burden of critical heart disease lifted from Bete and her family is very humbling,” Mr Thomson said.

“It is not just Bete and her family who benefit – as a teacher Bete is shaping the next generation of young Timorese and making an invaluable contribution to her community and country.”

Mr Thomson said an independent social return on investment study had found that every dollar invested in the organisation’s program returned nine dollars in health and social benefits.

“By changing one life, we can help build a better future for our neighbours in Timor-Leste,” he said.

Mr Thomson said he hoped supporters who had donated to help fund surgery for Bete and patients like her would turn out in force to meet her at Run Melbourne on 30 July.

As well as her first ever fun run, Bete said she was keen to try AFL football while in Melbourne. “I've never played AFL but would love to try. I think it will be a great experience and maybe something that I can take back to Timor and teach my kids.”

Donate to Bete's Run Melbourne fundraising effort.

Sincere thanks to our Run Melbourne 2017 sponsors Russell Kennedy Lawyers and Smith + Tracey architects, whose generous support is allowing Bete to travel to Melbourne.

 

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Media release Russell Kennedy Lawyers helping to mend broken hearts

Media release

Russell Kennedy Lawyers helping to mend broken hearts

21 June 2017

East Timor Hearts Fund is delighted to welcome leading law firm Russell Kennedy Lawyers as a major sponsor of its 2017 Run Melbourne team.

CEO Stuart Thomson Russell Kennedy’s decision to get on board with the team was just of the myriad of ways the firm was supporting East Timor Hearts Fund.

“Russell Kennedy is a quiet hero in the East Timor Hearts Fund story.  Since 2012, Russell Kennedy has partnered with East Timor Hearts Fund, way beyond an allocation of ‘six-minute billing units’,” Mr Thomson said.

"As well as solving our legal and tax issues, Russell Kennedy provides CBD office accommodation; meeting and event venues; catering and event support; networking opportunities; administrative support and more.

“This practical support is a key reason we’ve been able to transform in just five short years from charity start-up to an emerging development-focussed medical NGO.”

Mr Thomson said support from partners including Russell Kennedy would see former patient Bete Naben return to join the East Timor Hearts Fund team at Run Melbourne.

Since successful surgery last November to repair a “hole in the heart”, the mother of three and sports teacher had resumed teaching and playing soccer and volleyball.

Mr Thomson said he met with Bete and her family on a recent visit to Timor-Leste and Bete was keenly looking forward to showing off her newfound health at the run.

“We are truly fortunate to have a friend like Russell Kennedy. I’m looking forward to seeing staff from the firm out in force at Run Melbourne on 30 July, alongside our volunteers, medicos and our event ambassador Bete.”

Paul Gleeson, Managing Director at Russell Kennedy Lawyers, said he was very proud of the way that staff at the firm actively engaged in initiatives that directly benefited community partners, such as fundraising or donating time to undertake legal work for organisations such as East Timor Hearts Fund.

“I hope the Run Melbourne fundraising drive will be successful for the Fund and I look forward to seeing a large contingent of staff at the start line,” Mr Gleeson said.

 

Media enquiries

Ingrid Svendsen, volunteer communications adviser, East Timor Hearts Fund, ingrid.svendsen@easttimorhearts.org.au

 

Kerry Riordan, Business Development Consultant, Russell Kennedy Lawyers, + 61 3 9609 1528, kriordan@rk.com.au

 

About Russell Kennedy Lawyers Russell Kennedy is a law firm that delivers expert legal solutions and provides market leading expertise in our sectors of focus. We are committed to making a difference for our clients, providing opportunities for our people and creating positive and lasting changes within our community. We have offices in Melbourne, Geelong and Canberra and over 200 staff members.

www.rk.com.au

 

 

 

About East Timor Hearts Fund East Timor Hearts Fund is a volunteer-powered medical NGO dedicated to providing life-saving heart surgery in Australia for young Timorese, as well as heart-health research, education and prevention projects. www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au

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Medicos depart; now to work on funds and operations

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For the record - we're so grateful to our admin volunteers

An update from Timor-Leste,  from our honorary medical adviser Dr Noel Bayley

Hello from Dili,

Today the team is looking forward to the fifth and final day of this clinical trip.

Yesterday we were at Guido Valadares National Hospital, where we worked in cooperation with the local paediatricians and cardiologist Dr Andre Monteiro. My colleague, paediatric cardiologist Dr Ari Horton, was again kept busy seeing children with complex congenital disease.

While I mostly talk about the medical aspects of our work in these missives, I'd like to highlight something a bit different – our volunteer clinic admin team.

Administrator Nick Mock and cardiac nurse Charis Brown have been running the "front of house" during this visit. This involves meeting patients and their families, securing the necessary personal details and creating a medical record. All of these tasks are crucial to having accurate, and retrievable, clinical information.

A great deal of work has gone into creating a purpose-built database tailored to meet the clinic’s needs.

We've now reached the point where the medicos simply enter the patient’s ID into an iPad, and all prior examinations, procedures and plans for future treatment are at our fingertips. The system works rather better than at any of the hospitals I've worked at over the years.

The doctors, and the patients, owe a huge debt of gratitude to Nicki, Charis, and our entire clinic administrative team.

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Run Melbourne - it's a family affair!

Our Run Melbourne team is making the most of a sparkling autumn long weekend morning in Melbourne town! Volunteer board director Nicki has the whole clan in training. Kids Gemma and Patrick and sister Anne have all signed up to do the event with Nicki on 30 July. Legends!

You can be a legend too! Pop over to our Run Melbourne web page for all the info and links you need to register, join our team and help raise $20,000 to mend a broken heart. With options including a scenic 5km walk along the Yarra, a 10k fun run and a half marathon, there's something to suit most.

Hope to see you there!

 

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'Delight and joy' for our volunteer medicos

An update from Timor-Leste,  from our honorary medical adviser Dr Noel Bayley

The team is well into the June clinical trip.

After an early arrival last Friday morning, medical team members Dr Louise Creati, Dr Ari Horton and Dr Andre Monteiro (Timor’s first cardiologist), along with the support team of clinic administrator Nicki Mock and cardiac nurse Charis Brown, made the gruelling four-hour drive to Baucau, 120km east of Dili, for the first clinic.

It was a busy day, with around 50 patients seen, including many children. Ari's expertise as a paediatric cardiologist was extremely welcome and valuable. He has filled a longstanding gap in our range of services to the young people of Timor-Leste.

We had a late return to Dili, then back into it today at our partner, non-government health service Bairo Pite Clinic.  Again, it was a busy day. We saw about 30 patients, including a lot of kids with congenital disease who were in need of Ari’s input.

The day yielded the usual array of new patients, including three young adults who are outstanding candidates for surgical intervention in Australia.

As always, the whole team took delight, and indeed joy, in seeing patients who have been operated on in the recent past, all doing well.

It was a particular pleasure to see teenager Olga, who had extremely severe mitral stenosis, and was near death before her mitral balloon procedure at Royal Melbourne Hospital last July, now in robust health. Likewise, sports teacher and mother of three Bete, who had a complex “hole in the heart” operation at University Hospital Geelong last November, is also doing very well.

I am looking forward to another busy day of clinics tomorrow.

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Working long weekend for our volunteers

While Australians prepare for a relaxing Queen’s Birthday long weekend, East Timor Hearts Fund volunteers are gearing up for another busy round of heart screening clinics in Timor-Leste.

Our honorary medical adviser, Dr Noel Bayley, and volunteer medical team are about to head up to Timor-Leste, where they’ll spend the long weekend hard at work. Over four days our team will see hundreds of patients, identifying new candidates for treatment in Australia, and doing check-ups on patients who have previously had surgery to ensure their recovery is on track.

Our team will be doing clinics in Dili, at Guido Valadares National Hospital and with our partner, non-government health service Bairo Pite Clinic. They will also travel to Baucau, 120 kilometres east of the capital, to screen patients there.

As well as the medical team, our CEO Stuart Thomson, and voluntary board member and board committee chair Bill Appleby (who is the CEO of Jewish Care Victoria in his day job) are also Dili-bound. Stu and Bill will attend some of our clinics to meet the patients and support the volunteer clinic staff. They’ll also be meeting with some of our most important partners in Timor-Leste.

Our team will once again be achieving some amazing things in Timor-Leste, so stand by for some exciting updates from the field!

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Latest news!

Our latest enews is out now and you won't want to miss a word!

In this issue:

- Dr Noel Bayley's gearing up

- CEO Stuart Thomson's lacing up

- Board chair Ingrid Svendsen's tackling mountains

- New faces!

- Volunteer Liam Callaghan shares his unique gardening philosophy

- And best of all, Alisia's mum Rosalina, is now healthy again!

Please enjoy.

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New directors bring health and research boost

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Our patient 'angel'

Our patient 'angel'

 

Our volunteer patient support coordinator Ana Saldanha is inspired by the patients we help.

 

Adaptability a big asset 

 

Ana Saldanha has shown a remarkable capacity to adapt to any situation she has encountered since she started volunteering for the East Timor Hearts Fund in 2011.

 

Officially, Ana is patient support coordinator but this title belies the skills and personal strengths she applies to help cardiac patients throughout their treatment journey.

 

Unofficially, Ana may at times be a diplomat, den mother, cultural and political consultant, expert translator and interpreter, logistical tactician, patient carer and confidante, and 'team captain' of 15 volunteer patient supporters.

 

As patient support coordinator, she must be ready to step in if volunteers are unavailable due to their unexpected personal commitments. "I have to be both flexible and reliable," she says. "Otherwise things can go in the wrong direction."

 

She oversees the individual needs of patients, which range from a warm welcome from volunteers at Melbourne Airport, to Timorese home cooking, bedside visits in hospital, and homestays and recreational activities afterwards.

 

Gaining patients' trust requires a high level of empathy and, having immigrated to Australia in 1988, Ana knows how intimidating it can feel to cope with a strange language and culture. "Patients talk to me as their family. To me also, they are not just numbers or patients. I look at them as my own family."

 

These commitments are deftly juggled around her 'real' full-time job with the Australian Defence Force’s School of Languages. She also has a Timorese catering business, Sabores de Timor, and enjoys sharing spare time with her family

 

Ana has accompanied ETHF's medical teams to Timor-Leste to translate, interpret and facilitate at the cardiac assessment clinics in Dili and outlying districts. Once patients have been selected as cardiac treatment candidates, Ana briefs them about what to expect. This includes interpreting complex concepts in Tetum that may not have direct translations for technical medical terms.

 

She also translates cultural, political and social issues for both the medical teams and the board. In remote districts, for example, many people rely on fortune-tellers for healthcare advice. The parents' decision to have their critically ill child receive ETHF's treatment in Australia can spark strong opposition within their family – another hurdle to overcome, in addition to the gruelling travel to Dili. This helps explain why some patients can seem ambivalent about taking up a life-saving opportunity.

 

Ana's reward is the joy of helping young patients regain their health and their hopes of building tomorrow's Timor-Leste. "They can't wait to go back to school and achieve their dreams. They want to become architects, engineers, doctors, teachers, scientists. I tell them that with their determination, they will get better every day and be able to achieve that."

 

"I am really honoured to be part of such a wonderful organisation."

 

Source: 2015 East Timor Hearts Fund annual report

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Media release - Health and research boost for East Timor Heart Fund board

Media release                                     

Health and research boost for East Timor Heart Fund board

31 May 2017

The board of East Timor Hearts Fund has significantly expanded its skills base in key areas including public health and research following the election of four new directors.

 

The additions to the board, following a rigorous skills audit, recruitment and selection process, are part of East Timor Hearts Fund’s continued expansion into research, education and prevention projects that aim to tackle the root causes of poor heart health in Timor-Leste.

 

“While we will continue to provide life-saving heart surgery in Australia for those who need it, our focus will increasingly be on earlier intervention and tackling some of the systemic issues behind the high rate of rheumatic and other heart disease in Timor-Leste,” board chair Ingrid Svendsen said.

 

“These new board appointments, combined with the strengths of longer-serving directors, give us a diverse and high-skill board that is well-equipped to oversee the implementation of our very ambitious strategic plan.”

 

East Timor Hearts Fund’s annual general meeting last night (30 May 2017) elected new directors:

Dr Brett Sutton, a public health expert who is Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer, who has previously worked on public health projects in Timor-Leste and as a volunteer with Médecins Sans Frontières.

Julianne Scenna, who leads The Social Economy Group, a social impact consultancy, and has a background in international and community development and cross-sector partnerships.

Nick Oats, who manages a Victorian Government international program and has had significant involvement in projects in Timor-Leste.

Dr Vijaya Joshi, a research partnerships manager at Menzies School of Health Research, who has lived and worked in Timor-Leste and has considerable expertise working on rheumatic heart disease projects.

 

“Last year we funded and partnered to screen 1500 Timorese school children, as part of a landmark prevalence study, which identified some of the highest rates of rheumatic heart disease in the world,” Ingrid said.

 

“Rheumatic heart disease is preventable and it is treatable in its early stages. So we are now partnering to roll out a range of preventative and public health projects, including funding an outreach health worker to deliver a penicillin program targeting those with early symptoms.

 

“Our board is now better placed than ever to provide governance oversight to manage risk and effectively deliver these more complex projects and service delivery areas.”

 

Ingrid noted that the East Timor Hearts Fund board now had greater gender diversity than most Australian corporate boards and many in the not for profit sector.

 

“At a time when many corporate boards still have little or no female representation, it is very pleasing to now have a board that is 60 per cent women,” Ingrid said.

 

Other board members are Andrew Cochrane, Bill Appleby, Nicki Patten (company secretary), Sarah Danne and Sophie Clarkson.

 

Ingrid paid tribute to the outstanding service of retiring directors Philip Fitzpatrick and Ana Saldanha, a foundation board member who will remain with the organisation as volunteer patient support coordinator.

 

The board is currently filling one final position, and is advertising for a finance-qualified director, with applications closing on 12 June.

 

More information about the board is at www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/about-us/the-team/

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Susan and Nina - our Run Melbourne heroes

Our Run Melbourne Heroes!

As we prepare for another great event on 30 July, we're re-living some of the highlights from previous years.

In 2014, businesswoman Susan heard that our patient Nina wanted to come to Australia to do Run Melbourne. So she paid her airfare!

Before her operation Nina had been too sick to walk a block, but as our guest of honour at the event she impressed the whole team with her run.

And as you can see, she didn't forget to show Mana Susan how happy she was to be part of the fun!

There's still eight weeks to go, so plenty of time to sign up and join in. All the info and links you need are on our website. 

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Join CEO Stu at Run Melbourne

This unseasonably warm weather has put a spring into the step of our CEO Stuart Thomson, who's in training for Run Melbourne. Here he is taking a brief selfie break, between pounding out the ks.

Stu would love to see you at the event and to have your help in our mission to raise $20,000 to mend a broken heart.

Please pop across to our website to get all the info you need about signing up for the run or walk, and joining our team.

 

 

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Happy birthday to our champion, Lin Jong!

Happy birthday to our favourite AFL player, our ambassador Lin Jong of Western Bulldogs. Number 46 turns 24 today! 

You can find out more about our champion Lin on our website.

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We're recruiting! Volunteer finance board role

We're recruiting!

If you're a qualified finance whiz with director experience and a passion for our mission of mending broken hearts and heart-health prevention, research and education projects, please apply for a voluntary role on our board.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join a dynamic, growing organisation that has an exceptional CEO, skilled board with positive board culture and a strong strategic plan.

Applications close 12 June. Apply here.

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Run Melbourne Dili!

While we'll be shivering in chilly Melbourne doing Run Melbourne, our friends in Dili will be sweating it out at this unofficial event, Run Melbourne Dili!

Join the easygoing team of friends of East Timor Hearts Fund for a relaxed foreshore run, starting at Pertamina Wharf to Beachside, and hopefully finishing with coffee.

We're raising $20,000 to give a patient life-saving heart surgery in Australia.

Create your fundraising profile and join our team here

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Rosalina on the mend

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Rosalina all smiles ahead of surgery

Our latest patient Rosalina, 22, is in great spirits ahead of her mitral balloon procedure this week at Eastern Heart Clinic in Sydney.

Our CEO Stuart Thomson popped in today to visit Rosalina, and health support worker Simoa, from Bairo Pite Clinic in Dili.

This life-saving procedure cannot come soon enough for Rosalina, whose debilitating symptoms have left her too weak to play with her five month old daughter Alisia, and to work and study.

“I can’t wait to be healthy. I want to see my baby girl grow up and be there for her,” Rosalina told us.

More news soon!

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400,000 reasons to be grateful to our volunteers

Did you know - the value of work contributed by our medical and medical administration volunteers alone is an estimated $400,000 each year? But that’s just a fraction of the unpaid contribution that keeps our organisation going, as we also have volunteer accountants, administrative staff, committee and board members, patient support workers, marketing professionals and more. It’s how we deliver exceptional value for donor dollars, and exceptional service for the community we serve.

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we have 400,000 reasons to be grateful.

 

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Running for my brother

As Team Mending Broken Hearts gears up for another fantastic Run Melbourne event on Sunday 30 July, we're celebrating some of our Run Melbourne heroes.

This is our volunteer Chico, who ran the event in honour of his brother, who tragically passed away from heart disease aged only 46, leaving behind young children. Chico says his family could not afford to fly his brother overseas for treatment, and the right care was not available in Timor-Leste.

For Chico, volunteering, and doing the fun run, is a "fitting way to honour the memory of my brother and help to make sure that other Timorese people can lead a healthy and happy life with their families".

Everyone has a different reason for doing the run or walk, but we can all contribute to the goal of raising $20,000 to give a young patient life-saving heart surgery in Australia.

All the information and links you need to sign up and join our team are here.

Look forward to seeing you there!

 

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Our CEO's lesson for Melbourne Uni students

 

It was a lecture worth turning up to for University of Melbourne Masters in International Development students this morning, with our CEO Stuart Thomson doing a guest spot. With his background with agencies such as Oxfam and World Vision, as well as his work with East Timor Hearts Fund, we're sure Stuart gave the students some great insights.

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'I want to see my baby girl grow up'

We’re excited! Our next patient Rosalina, 22, arrives in Australia tomorrow. The young mum has mitral stenosis, a narrowing of the heart valve caused by the rheumatic fever she contracted as a child.

She’ll be having a high-tech mitral balloon procedure at Eastern Heart Clinic in Sydney.

Debilitating symptoms have left 22-year-old Rosalina too weak to play with baby Alisia, and unable to study and work.

“I can’t wait to be healthy. I want to see my baby girl grow up and be there for her,” Rosalina told us.

Look out for more updates soon!

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Our Ambassador, Western Bulldogs' Lin Jong, speaks to Fox Sports AFL 360

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Media release - Western Bulldogs champion Lin Jong joins our team

Western Bulldogs champion Lin Jong joins our team

26 April 2017

 

Australia’s only Timorese-Australian AFL player, the Western Bulldogs’ Lin Jong, has joined East Timor Hearts Fund as its first ambassador, chief executive officer Stuart Thomson today announced.

 

“We could not be more thrilled to have a champion like Lin come on board with our team,” Mr Thomson said.

 

“With his Timorese family background, Lin’s compassion for our patients and enthusiasm for our cause is genuine and very heartening for all of us at East Timor Hearts Fund.

 

“His determination, courage, resilience and can-do attitude as a player really embody what we are about. It’s very exciting to have Lin’s support in our mission to mend more broken hearts.”

 

Lin has been a dedicated supporter of East Timor Hearts Fund, meeting patients and attending events, including the Run Melbourne fun run.

 

He said his decision to become an ambassador was influenced by his family history – his father Vitor was born in Timor-Leste, and fled the country to escape civil war aged only 18.

 

Lin said he understood how much things had improved in Timor-Leste since his father left, but also knew that many people, including young people with heart disease, were not able to get the specialist medical help they needed.

“I’ve met patients who have come to Australia for surgery, and seen how life-changing it’s been,” Lin said.

 

“I’ll never forget having a kick with 13-year-old Paulo only weeks after his surgery and meeting 15-year-old Melinda, who had previously been too sick to go to school, when she came back to Melbourne to do a fun run.

 

“I’m happy and proud to use my profile as an athlete to help get the word out about the amazing work of East Timor Hearts Fund.”

 

Mr Thomson said the organisation also looked forward to supporting Lin in achieving his goal of learning more about Timorese culture, and hoped to host him on a visit to Timor-Leste this year.

 

Download the media release

View Lin Jong's video message

 

 

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Introducing our new ambassador, Western Bulldogs champion Lin Jong

I'm excited to share the news that Australia’s only Timorese-Australian AFL player, the Western Bulldogs’ Lin Jong, has joined East Timor Hearts Fund as our first ambassador.

We could not be more thrilled to have a champion like Lin come on board with our team. With his Timorese family background, Lin’s compassion for our patients and enthusiasm for our cause is genuine and very heartening for all of us at East Timor Hearts Fund.

His determination, courage, resilience and can-do attitude as a player really embody what we are about. It’s very exciting to have Lin’s support in our mission to mend more broken hearts.

You can view Lin’s video message below and read his statement of support.

Please keep an eye out for further news about our new champion.

Stuart Thomson, CEO

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Repaying a 'debt of honour'

Today, on ANZAC Day, we’re thinking about the “debt of honour” Australians owe to our friends and neighbours in Timor-Leste.

Although many Australians do know it, the bond between Australia and Timor-Leste goes back to WWII, when brave “criados” (lay soldiers) and villagers supported Australian troops who were fighting guerrilla warfare to impede the advance of the Japanese army.

In 1942, when the mission was deemed too dangerous, Australia withdrew. Japanese troops massacred more than 40,000 civilians (up to 70,000, or one in ten of the population, by some estimates). It is said that no other nation suffered such horrific civilian losses supporting Australians in war.

Our government dropped leaflets telling the Timorese people “Os vossos amigos noa vos esquecem” (“Your friends do not forget you”).  Today Australian veterans and service men and women, including the peacekeepers who supported the transition to independence in 1999-2000, still speak of the “debt of honour” owed to the people of Timor-Leste.

Through our work providing life-saving surgery, and prevention, education and research programs, East Timor Hearts Fund is proud to play a role in repaying that debt.

Lest We Forget.

 

Photo via Dare Memorial

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'Your friends do not forget you' - repaying a debt of honour

On ANZAC Day eve, we’re thinking about the “debt of honour” Australians owe to our friends and neighbours in Timor-Leste.

Although many Australians do know it, the bond between Australia and Timor-Leste goes back to WWII, when brave “criados” (lay soldiers) and villagers supported Australian troops who were fighting guerrilla warfare to impede the advance of the Japanese army.

In 1942, when the mission was deemed too dangerous, Australia withdrew. Japanese troops massacred more than 40,000 civilians (up to 70,000, or one in ten of the population, by some estimates). It is said that no other nation suffered such horrific civilian losses supporting Australians in war. 

Our government dropped leaflets telling the Timorese people “Os vossos amigos noa vos esquecem” (“Your friends do not forget you”). Today Australian veterans and service men and women still speak of the “debt of honour” owed to the people of Timor-Leste. This is one of the reasons Australia led the international peacekeeping force that supported the transition to independence in 1999-2000, under the command of our East Timor Hearts Fund patron General Peter Cosgrove. 

Through our work providing life-saving surgery, and prevention, education and research programs, East Timor Hearts Fund is proud to play a role in repaying that debt.

Lest We Forget.

Photo via Dare Memorial.

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Join our team! Early bird special ends soon

We're running to mend broken hearts - join us!

Run Melbourne earlybird prices close on 20 April.

Sign up for the event here then check out our website for all the details and links you need to set up a fundraising profile and join our team.

 

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Exceptional directors required!

We're recruiting!

Exceptional directors required! As a result of a board skills audit, we are seeking trained and experienced directors with the following expertise:

-- Medical qualifications and experience desirably in the fields of cardiac health, rheumatic heart disease, global or public health.

-- Knowledge and experience of government and bureaucracy and the culture in Timor-Leste, including Timorese or Timorese-Australian candidates.

-- Experience in the area of philanthropy, particularly major donors and corporates.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join a dynamic, growing organisation that has an exceptional CEO, a positive board culture and a strong strategic plan.

Applications close on 31 March. Apply here.

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Baths 2 Baths swim update: a message from Paul

**Baths 2 Baths swim update - a message from Paul**

Not the ending I was hoping for, unfortunately another shoulder injury has put an end to the Geelong to Brighton swim. Massive thanks go to the team today Michael Gregory, Michelle A Fullerton, AV, Chris Neesham, Steven Klugman, Spencer Roberts and Eugene Bonollo. Also massive thanks to the Matthew Paynter, Rachael Campbell and the team at Brighton Baths Health Club for all their support. Finally a big thanks has to go to the team at Homely.com.au, without them we would not have had a support boat. To say I am disappointed with the outcome is a massive understatement.

- Paul Hoffman

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Baths 2 Baths swim update: a message from our CEO

**A message from our CEO**

I’d like to commend the courage of our volunteer Paul Hoffman, who last night set out on an incredible 60km solo open water swim to help us to provide life saving heart surgery.

Unfortunately, around 11pm last night, around five hours into the swim, Paul re-injured his shoulder, which he damaged in last year’s attempt at this swim. Paul was unable to continue.

Paul put in six months of training to prepare for the swim, on top of six months of physiotherapy and rehabilitation for his injured arm and shoulder. While the swim has not ended the way any of us had hoped, we are still incredibly grateful to Paul for putting his body on the line to support our cause.

Paul’s swim is over but his ambition of raising $10,000 to provide life-saving heart surgery for a young person from Timor-Leste can still be realised. We’re hoping our friends will boost Paul’s spirits in the most tangible way possible, by donating.

All of us in the East Timor Hearts Fund family wish Paul a speedy recovery.

I would also like to sincerely thank all of the volunteers who assisted the swim, and our generous sponsors, Homely.com.au and Brighton Baths Health Club.

- Stuart Thomson, CEO

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IT'S ON!! Epic 60km solo ocean swim for healthy hearts

IT'S ON!!!

Please come and cheer our courageous volunteer Paul Hoffman as he sets off on his epic 25 hour 60km solo ocean swim for healthy hearts.

6.30PM TODAY (18 March)! Eastern Beach, Geelong.

Donate and leave messages of support here and look out for updates on our Facebook page.

 

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Young, female and very ill: new research profiles our patients

Volunteer medical team member and cardiology registrar Dr Elizabeth Paratz (along with our honorary medical adviser Dr Noel Bayley) has just published some new research looking into prevalence and patterns of cardiac disease in our patients. Liz looked at almost 500 patients going back to 2003.

Here, she explains what she found, and what motivated her to do the research.

 

When I first travelled to Timor-Leste (East Timor), the variety and severity of heart disease we encountered in the clinics was overwhelming for an Australian-trained doctor. In the first morning, I listened to more murmurs of mitral stenosis (a heart valve that has become stiff in opening, usually from rheumatic fever) in three hours than I had encountered in my entire medical career.

Two things really struck me – firstly how young the patients were. The majority of my patients in Australian cardiology are 60 years old and over. We often call our 60 year olds on the ward 'young'. However, in Timor-Leste, the average life expectancy is only about 60.

The other thing that really struck me was how female the clinics were – the majority of our patients in Australian cardiac wards are male. However, in Timor-Leste we were constantly seeing young women – women my age – with severe heart disease, most commonly from rheumatic fever or holes in the heart that had never been repaired. This created lots more issues in their care as we had to plan around their need for pregnancy and childbirth in terms of medications and surgeries.

At the end of each day, we would debrief about the cases we had seen, and we agreed that this was a unique group of patients. We were keen to objectively put together data: were the types of heart disease and patients in East Timor really so different to Australia? Did they resemble other islands like Fiji more? Fortunately, East Timor Hearts Fund honorary medical adviser Dr Noel Bayley and the amazing administrators had been keeping detailed data since the first clinics in 2003, so we had 13 years of data and almost 500 unique patients to examine in our study.

Our data analysis confirmed lots of our anecdotal impressions from the clinics. The patients in the ETHF clinics are young – the typical age is 29 years old. There are many more females compared to Australian practice. And unfortunately, many of them present with very advanced heart disease. One fifth of all the patients seen in the ETHF clinic presented with heart disease so severe they either required immediate referral for surgery or palliative care. In such a young group of people, this is tragic.

Data collection in Timor-Leste has its own unique challenges. For example, our interpreters and clinic coordinators are invaluable in trying to get accurate demographic data from patients. Our very few elderly (over 60 years old) patients would often all insist they were 100 years old. It seems that as soon as you turn 61, you gain the right to call yourself 100! Our interpreters would carefully go through events in Timorese history with them, and fix their age to within about five years.

Our database includes data from Dili, and also several mobile outreach clinics that have been conducted in the districts of Timor-Leste. However, some parts of the country still remain extremely inaccessible due to destroyed roads and bridges etc. In these poorer, inaccessible areas, rates of heart disease may be even higher than what we found in our data collection.

We hope that publication of our research in a major Australian medical journal will help create awareness of the clear importance and severity of heart disease in East Timor. ETHF has also been involved in bigger prospective screening studies set to be published soon, which will also help add to our research knowledge. Ultimately, by publishing and education, we hope to reduce the number of East Timorese turning up to ETHF clinics with inoperable heart disease at very young ages.

 

Read the research abstract.

Read Liz's profile.

 

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Behind the scenes at our screening clinics

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Timor volunteer's epic 60km swim for healthy hearts

Timor volunteer’s epic 60km swim for healthy hearts

7 March 2017

 

Melbourne marathon swimmer Paul Hoffman plans to swim the equivalent of two English Channels to help provide life-saving heart treatment for a young person from Timor-Leste (East Timor).

 

Paul’s epic 60km solo swim will take up to 25 hours, starting from Eastern Beach in Geelong and finishing at Brighton Baths, in bayside Melbourne.

 

A volunteer with East Timor Hearts Fund, Paul said seeing the medical charity transform the lives of young patients inspired him to take on the marathon swim.

 

“Some of these patients are not much older than my own kids, and quite often all they need is a fairly simple heart procedure so that they can get on with their lives and fulfil their aspirations,” Paul said.

 

“I’m lucky enough to have great health, and I’m happy there is something I can do to give others a second chance at a healthy life as well.”

 

This will be only the second time anyone has swum from Geelong to Melbourne, and is Paul’s second attempt at the bay crossing. During last year’s try, Paul tore a bicep tendon around five hours in. He gamely swam on for an hour using only one arm, before conceding defeat – but vowing to return.

 

After an operation, six months of physiotherapy and six months of training, during which he has swum up to 40 km a week in the pool and ocean, Paul said he was looking forward to success.

 

“This time it’s very personal. This is unfinished business for me. I don’t like leaving things unaccomplished.”

 

Paul swam the English Channel in 2014 to celebrate his 40th birthday. His other epic swims include Portarlington to Frankston (47km) and Bairnsdale to Lakes Entrance (40km).

 

Dubbed the Baths 2 Baths swim (as it starts and ends at Victoria’s last remaining sea baths, at Eastern Beach in Geelong and Brighton), the swim will take place over the weekend of 17-19 March. Tides and weather will determine the exact timing.

 

A support crew using a main 52 ft vessel and an inflatable boat will accompany Paul, but under the rules of open-water swimming he is not allowed to touch either boat or receive assistance other than food and drink. He will wear only Speedos, a cap and goggles as wetsuits are prohibited.

 

Paul aims to raise $10,000 – around 50 per cent of the cost of heart surgery for a patient. Supporters can donate to East Timor Hearts Fund and leave messages of support via Everyday Hero at give.everydayhero.com/au/baths-2-baths-swim-mending-broken-hearts.

 

Brighton Baths Health Club is sponsoring the event, which will also support a charitable foundation established for Will Murray, a young man who was injured in a diving accident in 2015 (wheretheresawill.com.au). 

 

 

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Paramedic's 100k trek for healthy hearts

Today’s East Timor Hearts Fund Herogram is going out to paramedic Belinda Donkers, who has signed up to trek more than 100 mountainous kilometres across Timor to raise awareness and funds for heart disease.

Belinda works demanding shifts with the Queensland Ambulance Service, and is also an Army reservist and St John Ambulance Australia volunteer. But she still finds time to pound the trails to train for the inaugural Earth Trails' The Trans-Timor Trek, a fundraiser for East Timor Hearts Fund.

“I have a significant history of heart disease in my family and have seen first-hand how horrible the disease is for both the suffer and their loved ones,” Belinda said.

“I am keen to be part of the combined efforts of East Timor Hearts Fund because I believe that together we can do more than individuals.

“I believe that prevention is better than cure and this is at the base of the strategy of East Timor Hearts Fund.”

You can donate and leave a message of support for Belinda on her fundraising page. There are still a few places left for the trek; here are some links for more info:

http://earthtrails.com.au/expeditions/east-timor/

www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/trans-timor-trek/

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Heartfelt thanks to our volunteers

***A message from our CEO Stuart Thomson***


Dear friends,

I write this as I fly from Dili to Darwin, enroute home following five amazing days spent with our volunteer medical team in Timor-Leste.

This was not my first time to visit Timor-Leste, but it was my first as CEO for East Timor Hearts Fund.

It is hard to describe in words what I have seen over the past five days. I have to admit that at times emotion nearly overran me. I felt pride to be CEO for such an amazing organisation and humbled by the dedication of the volunteer medical team as they saw patient after patient without flinching.

Among the nearly 200 patients screened were many who came back to see our honorary medical adviser Dr Noel Bayley and the team following earlier treatment in Australia. Also among them were those that will get to know us better as we set out to mend their broken hearts.

I would like to personally thank Dr Noel, Tom, Nicole, Sarah, Nicki, Liam and Gordon for volunteering their time so generously, for their incredible calm in the face of adversity and for welcoming me and patiently explaining their work. Thanks are also due to our dedicated friends from Bairo Pite Clinic, Fatima and Alarico.

This was not my first trip to Timor-Leste and it will not be my last as CEO. To all our volunteers, and to you our supporters, I thank you with all my heart.

– Stuart Thomson, CEO, East Timor Hearts Fund

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An update from Dr Noel in Dili: 'A special trip'

An update from Dr Noel in Dili

Hi all,

We've arrived at the end of our latest screening visit.

Most of the team went back to Darwin last night; clinic administrator Nicki Mock and I stayed to do the final clinic, with Dr Andre Monteiro, East Timor's only cardiologist, at Guido Valadares National Hospital.

That turned out to be quite busy and well worthwhile. We saw two young people with very severe mitral stenosis, who are very suitable for curative intervention in Australia with balloon procedures.

Overall, we've identified about a dozen new patients requiring surgical treatment, a mixture of adults and children. Some we will be able to arrange treatment for in Australia; and some will be referred to ROMAC, the Rotary children’s medical organisation.

It's been a special trip, with around 200 patients seen. Other highlights:

- We installed Timor’s first coronary care unit, and a variety of other donated cardiac equipment.

- Gordon Szegi, the biomedical engineer who accompanied us, made many friends (and worked very hard) by repairing a lot of malfunctioning hospital equipment.

- And our we made our first trip to Suai, around 140 kilometres southwest of Dili.

We'll be back in June to do it all again.

Your support allows us to take the next step for each of our patients....the actual surgery that saves lives.

Thank you all.

– Dr Noel Bayley, honorary medical adviser

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Hello again Paulo!

Remember 13 year old Paulo? His dream of becoming an engineer was at risk of crumbling because of his serious, untreated heart disease. We launched an appeal to raise $20,000 to give him a life-saving heart procedure in Australia last July. Look at him now! Dr Noel, who is in Dili with our volunteer medical team, has just caught up Paulo for a check up. As you can see, he's now doing much better - back at school and able to play soccer again.

Please go to our website to find out how you can get involved, and help us mend more broken hearts.

Photo credit: Hugh Miley

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An update from Dr Noel in Dili

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Our new CEO in the news

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Meet Stuart Thomson, our new CEO

Meet our new CEO, Stuart Thomson

"My motivations in seeking the role are personal as well as professional. Several years ago my family and I unsuccessfully tried to bring a four year old relative of my Tanzanian-born wife to Australia for heart treatment. Sadly, she passed away before we could arrange help.

"This shook our family and shakes me today that an easily treatable condition can result in so much tragedy.

"The contrast with the treatment my own young son received when diagnosed with a heart murmur was stark. It’s a tale of two countries, only one hour’s flying time from each other, that such a twist of fate can occur. I want to contribute to ensure that this injustice becomes a thing of the past."

Read Stuart's full bio

View Stuart's video message 

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Media release - international development leader named new CEO

Media release -  international development leader named as new CEO

1 February 2017

 

Seasoned international development program leader Stuart Thomson will join East Timor Hearts Fund this month as chief executive officer, board chair Ingrid Svendsen today announced.

“This appointment comes at a pivotal time for East Timor Hearts Fund,” Ms Svendsen said.

“In the next few years our work will expand significantly as we provide life-saving heart surgery in Australia for more patients than ever, while tackling the root causes of poor heart health in Timor-Leste with prevention, research and education initiatives.

“The board is delighted to have someone with Stuart’s experience to join us, as we move from charity start-up to a mature, development-focussed organisation.”

A trained nurse, who has lived and worked in Timor-Leste and other developing countries with organisations such as Oxfam, Mr Thomson’s experience includes helping establish World Vision’s United Nations award-winning Child Health Now campaign, implemented in more than 40 countries.

Mr Thomson said he was thrilled at the opportunity to build and lead an organisation that was not only mobilising support to “mend broken hearts” but was also focussed on preventative work.

“I’m really looking forward to helping a great organisation reach its full potential,” Mr Thomson said.

“It’s going to be immensely satisfying to help position East Timor Hearts Fund to assist more patients and support the development of local services for Timorese who are currently without access to heart surgery and preventative treatments.”

Mr Thomson said his motivations in seeking the role were personal as well as professional. “Several years ago my family and I unsuccessfully tried to bring a four year old relative of my Tanzanian-born wife to Australia for heart treatment. Sadly, she passed away before we could arrange help,” Mr Thomson said.

“This shook our family and shakes me today that an easily treatable condition can result in so much tragedy.”

Mr Thomson said the contrast with the treatment his own young son received when diagnosed with a heart murmur was stark. “It’s a tale of two countries, only one hour’s flying time from each other, that such a twist of fate can occur. I want to contribute to ensure that this injustice becomes a thing of the past.”

Mr Thomson would commence on 13 February and fly to Timor-Leste later this month to meet health partners and support the volunteer medical team’s screening clinics in Dili and outlying districts.

Ms Svendsen paid tribute to the outstanding work of interim CEO Mike Gregory, who has occupied the role since October.

Read Stuart Thomson’s bio here.

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Media release_Lider dezenvolvimentu internasionál ida simu knaar foun nu’udar Diretór Prezidente

Lider dezenvolvimentu internasionál ida simu knaar foun nu’udar Diretór Prezidente

 

1 Fevreiru 2017

 

Lider programa ida iha área dezenvolvimentu internasionál ho esperiénsia boot, naran Stuart Thomson, sei komesa servisu iha East Timor Hearts Fund iha fulan Fevreiru nu’udar Diretór Prezidente, hatete Prezidente Konsellu Administrasaun ohin.

“Designasaun ida-ne’e akontese iha moment importante ida ba East Timor Hearts Fund”. Dehan Sra. Svendsen.

“Iha tinan hirak tuir mai, ami sei haboot liu tan ami-nia servisu fornese sirurjia fuan, ne’ebé salva ema-nia moris, iha Australia ba pasiente barak liu tan, ho iha tempu hanesan, tau matan ba problema saúde fuan-nia kauza abut   

iha Timor-Leste, ho inisiativa ba prevensaun, peskiza ho edukasaun.

“Konsellu Administrasaun haksolok tebetebes atu simu ema ida ho Stuart-nia esperiénsia, enkuantu East Timor Hearts Fund muda nia modelu husi karidade foin mak harii, bá organizasaun ida ne’ebé maduru no foku ba dezenvolvimentu”.

Sr. Thomson uluk hela ho servisu nu’udar enfermeiru iha Timor-Leste, ho  mós rian sira-seluk dezenvolve hela. Nia servisu tiha ba organizasaun hanesan Oxfam, no mós iha knaar ba harii World Vision-nia kampaña Child Health Now, kampaña ida ne’ebé hetan prémiu husi ONU, ho implementa iha nasaun 40 resin.

Sr. Thomson dehan katak nia kontente tebetebes ho oportunidade ida-ne’e atu haburas no komanda organizasaun ida ne’ebé servisu la’ós de’it ba “hadi’ak fuan-tohar” maibé foku mós ba asuntu prevensaun.

“Ha’u ansiosu hahú ha’u-nia knaar iha organizasaun fantástiku ida-ne’e, atu atinje nia poténsia másimu.“ Sr. Thomson dehan.

“Oportunidade ida-ne’e sei fó ha’u satisfasaun boot, atu tulun East Timor Hearts Fund ajuda pasiente barak liu tan, no mós suporta dezenvolvimentu servisu saúde sira ne’ebé Timor-oan sira presiza, tanba la iha asesu ba sirurjia fuan no tratamentu preventivu.”

Sr. Thomson hatete katak nia motiva atu simu knaar foun ne’e tanba razaun pesoál ho mós profisionál. “Tinan balun liu ba, ha’u-nia família ho ha’u koko, maibé la ho rezultadu, atu lori labarik-oan ida tinan haat, ne’ebé ha’u-nia feen-nia parente husi rai Tanzania, mai Australia ba simu tratamentu fuan. Infelizmente, nia mate molok ami konsege arranja buat hotu ba lori nia mai.”

“Momentu triste ne’ebá iha impaktu boot ba ami-nia família, no ha’u rai esperiénsia ne’e iha ha’u-nia laran, katak kondisaun médiku ida ne’ebé loloos bele kura fasil duni ho tratamentu, maibé tanba la iha asesu ba tratamentu, rezultadu sai fali trajédia.”

Sr. Thomson dehan katak nia esperiénsia ho nia oan-mane rasik, bainhira nia simu diagnóstika murmura-fuan, sai oin seluk loos. “Istória ne’e nia tema maka ‘diferensa entre nasaun rua’, besik loos malu no semo aviaun horas ida de’it, maibé nasaun rua ne’e-nia destinu sai diferente loos. Ha’u hakarak fó ha’u-nia kontribuisaun atu hatebes katak injustisa ne’e sai tiha problema pasadu-nian”

Sr. Thomson sei komesa nia knaar foun ne’e iha Fevreiru loron 13, ho semo ba Timor-Leste iha fulan ida-ne’e nia remata, hodi koñese parseiru sira iha area saúde, no apoia ekipa médiku-nia klínika ba identifika moras fuan iha Dili no iha distritu.

Sra. Svenden hato’o nia parabéns ba Diretór Prezidente interinu Sr. Mike Gregory, ne’ebé kaer hela knaar ne’e dezde Outubru tinan 2016.

Bele lee Sr. Thomson-nia blogue iha ami-nia website easttimorheartsfund.org.au.

 

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'There are so many like her that can be helped.'

“There are so many others like her that can be helped. That’s what this trek is all about.”

 

Paramedic Mick Stuth saw first-hand the devastating impact of rheumatic heart disease when he served as a peace-keeper in Timor-Leste. The sight of young children gasping for air, unable to run, play or go to school has remained with him. It's what inspired him to organise the Trans-Timor Trek, an epic hike to raise funds and awareness.

Recently Mick had the opportunity to meet East Timor Hearts Fund patient Alia, which he said was very moving.

“Alia told me she no longer feels tired and dizzy, and that she has an appetite again. She said she is looking forward to getting back to school and working toward her dream of studying medicine. 

“There are so many others like her that can be helped. That’s what this trek is all about.”

Only 15 places are available on the Earth Trails Trans Timor Trek, and are filling fast. Find out more here.

Photo credit: Mathew Lynn

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Media release: New heart, hope and life for Alia – thanks Warrnambool

Media release

New heart, hope and life for Alia – thanks Warrnambool

14 January 2017

Warrnambool cardiologist Dr Noel Bayley and Timorese teen Alia Borges have given a “heartfelt thank you” to people from Warrnambool and the south-west who supported a crowdfunding campaign to give Alia life-saving surgery in Australia.

Alia, 15, has made a rapid recovery following a four-hour double heart valve repair operation last month. She returned to Timor-Leste late this week, ready to go back to school and pursue her dream of becoming a doctor.

Dr Bayley, honorary medical adviser and co-founder of the medical charity East Timor Hearts Fund, described the response from local people to Alia’s plight as truly humbling.

The crowdfunding campaign, launched in late September, aimed to raise $20,000 in 20 days but ended up generating more than $30,000, with around one-third of the total contributed by individuals and foundations from Warrnambool and the south-west.

“I’ve always known my home town has a big heart, but this has demonstrated just how big,” Dr Bayley said.

“It has been especially touching to have so many of my patients and their families share their good health and good fortune by contributing to transform Alia’s life and allow her to pursue her ambition of studying medicine.”

Dr Bayley acknowledged the Warrnambool-based AL Lane Foundation, A & M Crothers Foundation, A & H Graham Foundation and Ern Hartley Foundation, which gave generously.

He thanked Professor Yves d'Udekem and the team at the Royal Children’s Hospital for their outstanding work. Relieved of the debilitating symptoms of rheumatic heart disease, Alia could now breathe easily, walk and move freely, eat well and enjoy life.

Alia’s mum Octavia said she could not believe her daughter’s transformation. "My family and I would like to say a big thank you to the East Timor Hearts Fund team and volunteers, the surgeons and medical team, all the amazing donors, including people from Warrnambool and the south-west, and everyone involved for helping saving my daughter's life,” Octavia said.

“The world needs more people like you.”

Alia said the donors, medical staff and East Timor Hearts Fund volunteers “will always be in my heart”.

“I am looking forward to going back to school and hopefully achieving my dream of becoming a doctor.” 

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New heart, new hope, new life for Alia

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Scholarship for Timor-Leste's one and only Dr Andre

Dr Andre Montiero is a very special medico - he's Timor-Leste's only cardiologist! And right now, thanks to a $10,000 scholarship provided by East Timor Hearts Fund, Dr Montiero is in Australia further building his professional skills and sharing his knowledge with his Melbourne counterparts. Dr Montiero is being hosted at MonashHeart, where he is undertaking simulator training, attending cardiology inpatient and outpatient clinics, and experiencing echocardiography and paediatric cardiology learning opportunities.

Our thanks to Director of Cardiology, Professor Rick Harper, and echocardiography trainer Tony Wald, for sharing their time and expertise with Dr Montiero, and also to the generous donor who made the scholarship possible.

We are very much looking forward to Dr Montiero not only playing a greater role in our screening, research and treatment programs in Timor-Leste, but to him contributing new knowledge and skills to the rapidly developing health system in his home country.

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Getting into the swing, to mend a broken heart

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'I can't wait to go back to my family and start working again'

Our latest patient, Maria, an emergency nurse at Baucau Hospital in Timor-Leste, had her first experience as a patient this week, with a heart procedure at Eastern Heart Clinic in Sydney, followed by recuperation at Prince of Wales Private Hospital.

Maria is in great spirits and eating and drinking well. "I can feel the difference now. I can breathe much easier," Maria told us.

"I am forever grateful for everyone involved in giving me the second chance in life. I can't wait to go back to my family and start working again," an excited Maria said.

Our thanks and gratitude to Eastern Heart Clinic's Virag Kushwala and Roger Allan, who performed the procedure, and to all at Eastern Heart and Prince of Wales Private, who have cared so superbly for Maria. Thanks also to Simoa, from Bairo Pite Clinic, who accompanied Maria to Australia.

What a fantastic Christmas gift for Maria and her family.

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Media release - Former Aussie peacekeeper puts heart into epic Timor trek

                          

Media release -  Former Aussie peacekeeper puts heart into epic Timor trek

17 November 2016

 

A former Australian peacekeeper is returning to Timor-Leste (East Timor) to lead an epic north-south trek, which will include a summit attempt on Mt Ramelau, Timor-Leste’s highest peak, historic sites and village homestays.

 

The 13-day event, which will be supported by local guides, is the first commercial coast-to-coast trek for the fledgling nation, one hour’s flying time from Darwin.

 

Trekkers will camp and homestay in villages along the picturesque and often mountainous 110 km route. As well as an attempt on the 2986 metre Mt Ramelau, the expedition will take in historic sites including remote natural hot springs and the Portuguese-era fort and township of Balibo, where five Australian media workers lost their lives in 1975.

 

Trek organiser and leader Mick Stuth, now a civilian paramedic and operations director of EarthTrails Expeditions, which trains remote medics, said the Timor trek grew from his experiences as a peacekeeper, and his commitment to help support one of the poorest nations in Asia.

 

“In 2003 I served in Timor-Leste in a civil-military liaison role for the Australian Defence Force. It was truly eye-opening, to see what the people have endured in years of civil strife and occupation,” Mick said.

 

“As an Australian and a medic I also had to fathom that our ‘next door neighbours’, who are only one hour’s flying time from mainland Australia, live with such extreme poverty and poor health.

 

“This trek is my way to make a difference, and to give other Australians the chance to also help out our neighbours.”

 

Mick said he chose East Timor Hearts Fund – an Australian charity that provides life-saving heart surgery in Australia for young Timorese and supports research and preventative health initiatives – based on his experiences in Timor-Leste.

 

“I saw first-hand how rheumatic fever, the cause of many of the heart problems experienced by East Timor Hearts Fund’s young patients, works its way through communities,” he said.

 

“It causes crippling heart failure in young people, leaving them breathless, lethargic and unable to go to school or enjoy sport or playing with friends.

 

“To see children gasping for air, lying helpless and unable to do what other children do at that age, is heart-breaking and if there is treatment and prevention available, why wouldn’t we support it?”

 

As well as the social benefit, Mick said the trip, next July-August, would be an incredible adventure, in an “unspoilt wonderland, rich in vibrant cultures and jaw-dropping landscapes” that had very few tourists.

 

Mick urged Australians with a sense of adventure and a social conscience to get behind the trek. With only 15 places available, people need to act quickly. Special early-bird prices also apply before 25 November.

 

To register or to find out more, visit earthtrails.com.au/expeditions/east-timor/

 

Fact file:

East Timor Hearts Fund is Australia’s only medical aid charity dedicated to providing life-saving heart surgery in Australia for young people from Timor-Leste (East Timor). These patients often need relatively simple procedures to correct conditions that are the legacy of childhood rheumatic fever, a disease largely eradicated in the west. They cannot be treated in Timor-Leste due to a lack of specialist medical facilities.

 

Earth Trails Expeditions is a socially and environmentally conscious adventure travel company that supports the Wild Medic Project, a volunteer-based organisation providing health training and support for remote communities in locations including Nepal.

 

Trans-Timor Trek

Date: Saturday 22 July – Thursday 3 August, 2017

Cost: $3,450 AUD – (special earlybird price until 25 November)

Info: earthtrails.com.au/expeditions/east-timor/

 

Early bird price until 25 November (refer to the website to learn about inclusions/exclusions)

 

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Meet Mick, the force behind the Trans-Timor Trek

Director of operations for Earth Trails Expeditions - Mick Stuth had an interesting introduction to Timor-Leste as part of a civil-military liaison role for the Australian Defence Force in 2003. Since that “eye-opening” operation, his connection and love for the people of Timor-Leste has opened up a trekking concept that involves leading a challenging traverse from one side of the country to the other, combined with an initiative to raise funds for an important cause.

 

From the moment I arrived in Timor-Leste in 2003, I felt a great sense of fragility mixed with a dash of optimism while talking with these beautiful people coming out of a tumultuous period.

 

While most of my colleagues felt that this was a six-month operation where the objective must be achieved, I felt that this was an opportunity to get to know the locals and try to understand the great disparity I was witnessing on a grand scale. It’s fair to say that there was an element of “culture shock” as I peered into the lives of simplicity, but with a raw history that had endless economic and social complexities.

 

The local stories of resistance, brutality, helplessness from characters with faces of resilience and pride have sat with me as I try to comprehend what has actually occurred through years of occupation. Through that experience my heart felt burdened and I promised myself that I would one day come back to this new nation to assist the local communities in some way that adds true value.

 

After an amazing visit with my young family, a refresher on Tetum-Praca and a catch-up with my great friend and local interpreter from 2003, the decision to organise a trek from the North to the South side of the island came into fruition after a casual chat with Manny Napoleon, a local eco-tour operator in Dili. A group trek would surely inject funds into the economy, but it alone would not harness the kind of value I wanted to bring.

 

Being a paramedic back home, my passion for healthcare is strong and what better way to support the young hearts of Timor-Leste by raising funds for East Timor Hearts Fund, an Australian-based organisation that provides life-saving heart surgery in Australia for young East Timorese.

 

Rheumatic fever, the cause of many of the heart problems experienced by East Timor Hearts Fund’s patients, works its way through communities in Timor. It causes crippling heart failure in young people leaving them breathless, lethargic and unable to contribute to their community in any meaningful way. To see children gasping for air lying helpless unable to do what other children do at that age is heart-breaking and if there is a relatively simple prevention and cure for this condition, why wouldn’t we support it?

 

Earth Trails Expeditions was born to help bring people to alternative destinations around the world, experiencing each location in its true rawness while injecting vital fundraising into key local initiatives. Earth Trails partner Steve Whitfield and I have been to Timor-Leste multiple times identifying its cultural, geographical and historical value as incredibly unique.

 

We have named the hiking challenge to benefit East Timor Hearts Fund the Trans-Timor Trek, and up to 15 participants will take in the 13 day journey, in July-August 2017. Manny’s local team will provide logistics and support for the mountainous deployment that includes a summit attempt on Mt Ramelau, East Timor’s highest peak. Each participant will individually fundraise prior to setting off in support of East Timor Hearts Fund.   

 

 

With plans to become a yearly event, the team at Earth Trails hope that the Trans-Timor Trek brings something special to the participants, but more importantly something critical for the young hearts of Timor-Leste.

 

I hope you will join me on what promises to be an incredible journey.

Mick Stuth

Earthtrails Expeditions

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Lucky Bete

Our patient Bete, who had open heart surgery earlier this week at University Hospital Geelong, is an extraordinarily lucky woman.

In addition to her VSD ("hole in the heart"), the surgical team discovered she had a second serious heart defect, a ruptured sinus of Valsalva, which meant that the aortic root had gradually weakened and ruptured into the right ventricle. The two holes have now been repaired, with no need to replace the aortic valve. This is a great outcome for Bete, who was at grave and immediate risk without treatment.

Bete is a mum of three, sports teacher and keen soccer and volley ball player. She has everything to live for, and will now have that opportunity.

Bete will be out of hospital and into the spring sunshine within a few days.

Our thanks to the skilled surgeon Mr Bo Zhang, and all of the skilled clinical teams at University Hospital Geelong, as well as our volunteer medical team member Dr Alan Appelbe, who has worked so hard to arrange treatment in Australia for Bete.

Our thanks to you also, as your support allows us to help patients like Bete.

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Heart-healthy fun for Bete

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2016 Golf Day - swing into action to mend a broken heart!

We are very pleased to announce a new way to have fun and support our work.

 

East Timor Hearts Fund Golf Day - Swing into action to mend a broken heart!

 

Details 

Friday 9 December

Sanctuary Lakes Golf Course

Breakfast from 7.15am

Shotgun tee-off at 8.00am

Lunch and guest speaker at 12.30pm

 

Entry includes breakfast, 18 holes on a Greg Norman-designed championship course, golf cart, sit down lunch with speaker.

 

*** Raising funds for East Timor Hearts Fund, Australia’s only medical aid charity dedicated to providing life-saving heart surgery in Australia for young people from Timor-Leste.

 

Contact

Paul Hoffman

T 9530 2711

M 0405 312 543

E 2016golfday@easttimorheartsfund.org.au

 

Download the flier!

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A sporting chance for Bete

We're excited here at ETHF HQ, and it's not because of a horse race!

Later today our latest patient Bete arrives. Bete is a mum of three and a sports teacher - but in recent years she hasn't been able to work or enjoy her passion for soccer and volleyball because of worsening symptoms from a "hole in the heart" condition she was born with. In a western country, Bete's condition would have been diagnosed and treated in infancy, but because of a lack of specialist cardiac care in Timor-Leste, Bete has had to live with increasing breathlessness, pain and worry.

When I get better, I would like to look after my children and continue to do my teaching,” Bete told us. “I would like to say thank you very much to the doctors, donors, and everyone who is involved.” 

Our patient support volunteers are planning a warm welcome for Bete. We'll update you soon! 

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Our unstoppable volunteers

The Melbourne Cup might be the "horse race that stops a nation" but nothing stops our volunteer patient support team! When our patient Bete arrived in Melbourne this afternoon (along with health support worker/interpreter Alarico from Bairo Pite Clinic) our volunteers Annette, Ana and Inacio were on hand to greet them with necessities including warm clothes, a home cooked meal and a local mobile phone. Bete, a sports teacher and mother of three, is now resting up at her accommodation. She is tired but relieved to be here, and excited to be so close to getting the help she needs for her heart condition. Benvindu Bete!

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Skin disease, heart disease - what's the story?

How can skin infections possibly lead to heart disease, and what can we do about it? The project leader of our landmark rheumatic heart disease prevalence study, Dr Josh Francis of Royal Darwin Hospital, reveals all in this interview with ABC RA Pacific Beat program. Hope you enjoy it.

**The prevalence study, which involved screening 1400 school children in five days, was conducted last week with our project partners including RhEACH, Bairo Pite Clinic, St John of God Health Care and others. East Timor Hearts Fund financed the study, as part of our commitment to tackling the root causes of poor heart health in Timor-Leste. Our thanks to the generous private donor who has made this incredibly important piece of research possible!

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'I can't wait to come to Australia!'

Dear friends,

Our Mend Alia’s Broken Heart crowdfunding campaign has now concluded. 

Our volunteer medical team, Dr Noel Bayley and Dr Alan Appelbe, have given Alia her final checkup, and confirmed that she is set to come to Australia for her surgery.  This is a truly fantastic outcome for Alia, who aspires to finish school and be a doctor, so she can help others with life-threatening heart disease.

Final preparations are now underway for Alia to come to Australia, along with her mum Octavia, and a health support worker/interpreter. If you have not done so already, please subscribe to our e-news for the latest on Alia, and other occasional updates on our work, or follow our Facebook page.

We caught up with Alia and Octavia, and told them how people all over Australia were donating so that Alia gets the care she needs.

Please watch the video below to see their reaction!

After living with debilitating symptoms for so long, Alia is understandably thrilled that medical help is at hand, as is her whole family.

Alia told us: "I can't wait to come to Australia." Octavia said: "Thank you for helping my daughter. I am so happy now. Thanks Australia!"

Our campaign raised more than $29,000 – way in excess of our original $20,000 target! This is great news for Alia, and for the other young patients on our waiting list. It’s also a tribute to the generosity and support of all of the people who donated to ensure that Alia gets the care she needs, and shared her story, to let more people know about our work.

Obrigada barak (thank you very much)!

 

Ingrid, on behalf of the Mend Alia's Broken Heart campaign team

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Mend Alia's Broken Heart campaign update - We did it!!

  

WE DID IT!!

Thank you so much to all who shared, donated and left beautiful messages of support for our patient Alia. 

Moments ago our crowdfunding campaign to provide 15-year-old Alia with life-saving heart surgery reached the $20,000 target - four days ahead of the official close of the campaign!

Although we have reached our target, with such a huge outpouring of support, we have decided to allow the campaign to run until the planned finish date, Tuesday 17 October. We have a long waiting list, so any additional funds will allow us to give another patient the same life-changing opportunity as Alia. You can read our full update to supporters as (as well as share and donate) on our Chuffed page.

Thank you for helping us #MendAliasBrokenHeart

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Marathon heart screening effort powered by grit, humour and lunch!

Screening 1000 school children for heart disease in five days requires grit, stamina, a good sense of humour - and lunch! Our volunteer team is today travelling Letefoho, at the foot of famous Mt Ramelau, south-west of the capital of Dili. They've made a great start, with more than 500 children screened already, and more to come over the next few days.

It's great to see them keeping their energy up and still smiling.

The team is working on a landmark piece of research to establish the incidence of rheumatic heart disease in Timor-Leste, which is being funded by East Timor Hearts Fund (thanks to a generous private donation) and delivered by a partnership of NGOs in Australia and Timor-Leste. More info here.

Photo credit: Susanna Rossi Photographs

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A life-saving donation - thank you Peninsula Health and GE Healthcare

**An Update from Dr Noel in Dili**

On behalf of East Timor Hearts Fund today I had the privilege of handing over a donated cardiac ultrasound machine to Guido Valadares National Hospital in Dili.

Dr Mendes Pinto, Director of Diagnostic and Logistics, and Timor-Leste’s first cardiologist, Dr Andre Montiero, accepted the gift.

This device is essential for diagnosis and management of cardiac disease, especially rheumatic valvular disease, so common in this country.

The cardiac ultrasound machine was very generously donated by Peninsula Cardiology, with support and assistance from GE Healthcare, and their representative, Greg Hyland.

Until now, this major hospital had no functional, high quality cardiac imaging equipment. So we're proud to be responsible for addressing this need, and also grateful for the generosity of the donors.

We have also sourced the necessary equipment to provide Dili National with a coronary care unit, the country's first. This will be installed early next year.

We are very proud to assist our Timorese colleagues in this way, as a crucial part of our long-term plan to support an improvement in the cardiac health of this wonderful country.

Dr Noel Bayley,

Honorary medical adviser

Photo credit: Susanna Rossi - Photographs

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Media release: Landmark heart study to screen 1000 Timorese children

Media release

Landmark heart study to screen 1000 Timorese children

Monday 10 October 2016

A team of Australian cardiologists and other medical specialists is assembling in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste (East Timor), ready to commence a landmark heart disease prevalence study.

Up to 1000 school children, in Dili and outlying districts, will be screened as part of the study, the first of its kind conducted in Timor-Leste, which aims to estimate the prevalence of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in the country.

RHD is a preventable, treatable form of cardiovascular disease that affects more than 32 million people around the world, and claims 275,000 lives a year. The prevalence of the disease has never been measured in Timor-Leste, despite many young people who have advanced heart disease.

Dr Noel Bayley, honorary medical adviser of the Australian medical aid charity East Timor Hearts Fund, said the organisation was funding the study as part of push to tackle the root causes of poor heart health in Timor-Leste.

“Since 2010 East Timor Hearts Fund has provided heart surgery or procedures in Australia for more than 30 patients, the vast majority of whom have been young people with RHD,” Dr Bayley said.

“While continuing to assist individual patients, we also want to start to look at the systemic issues.

“Anecdotally we know that there is a very high rate of RHD in Timor-Leste. This study aims to quantify that more precisely, and provide a platform for East Timor Hearts Fund and other non-government and government organisations to begin to marshal the funding and resources needed to effectively tackle this devastating disease.”

The study is the result of collaboration between East Timor Hearts Fund, RhEACH – a founding member of RHD Action – and local partners Bairo Pite Clinic and St John of God Timor-Leste.

Between Monday 10 October and Friday 14 October a team of four cardiologists and other medical specialists, nurses and support staff from around Australia and from Timor-Leste will commence the echocardiography screening study, which will develop a picture of how widespread RHD is among children and young adults in Timor-Leste. The medical team will examine children from schools in the capital of Dili, and the village of Letefoho, in Ermera district, south-west of the capital.

Treatment will be made available to children identified with RHD or skin conditions that can lead to it. Where children are found to have RHD, families will be offered the option of penicillin treatment, immediately and ongoing. East Timor Hearts Fund is also funding an expanded prophylactic penicillin program via Bairo Pite Clinic in Dili, supported by a donation of medication from Pfizer.

“Understanding the burden of RHD in Timor-Leste will help us understand what can be done to tackle the disease,” said Dr Joshua Francis, a paediatric infectious disease specialist from Darwin, who is participating in the study.

“Prevention of these severe cases of RHD would not only be cost-effective for the health system in Timor-Leste, it would also spare a significant number of children and young people in Timor-Leste from suffering, and even dying from, a completely preventable disease.”

Download the media release (PDF download)

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Thanks Willow and friends - hearts of gold

We're constantly humbled by the kindness of our junior supporters. Today's ETHF Herogram goes out to eight year old Willow and her friends, who are students at Dili International School. Willow (that's her in the centre at the back) turned down birthday presents at her party recently, and instead asked her friends to contribute to the Mend Alia's Broken Heart crowdfunding campaign. They raised an impressive $156! Thanks Willow and friends, you have hearts of gold.

Help us raise $20,000 in 20 days to Mend Alia's Broken Heart. Donate and share at https://chuffed.org/project/mendaliasbrokenheart

#MendAliasBrokenHeart

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Timorese street food to mend a broken heart

Huge thanks to our friends Sabores de Timor and Down to Earth Coffee and Tea House for putting on this great event.Come and sample some delicious Timorese street food, meet the makers, and support our Mend Alia's Broken Heart crowdfunding campaign to provide life-saving heart surgery in Australia for 15-year-old Alia. Details on our Facebook page.

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Thanks Doris and John  Madden for your big hearts!

Today's ETHF Herogram is going out to Doris and John Madden, who have made one of the largest individual donations to our Mend Alia's Broken Heart crowdfunding campaign. Thanks Doris and John! As a little thank you for their kindness, Doris and John receive one of our great campaign perks - afternoon tea with Alia and her mum Octavia. They also get this social shout out, and listing in our Hall of Fame.

If you'd like to be rewarded with great perks, including the greatest perk of all, helping Alia get the life-saving treatment she needs, please go to our campaign page at Chuffed.org to donate and share.

#MendAliasBrokenHeart

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'My dream is to be a doctor'

Celebrate World Heart Day by helping to mend a broken heart. We’re crowdfunding $20,000 in 20 days to give Timorese teenager Alia life-saving heart surgery in Australia, so she can work toward her dream of being a doctor.Please share this post with all the generous people you know. Go to Chuffed.org/project/mendaliasbrokenheart to donate.

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All the photos from our Mend Alia's Broken Heart launch!

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'When I'm better I will be happy with my family and friends'

Critical heart disease is standing in the way of Alia’s simple wish to have a happy life with family and friends. Help us give her the normal childhood she deserves.Please share this post with all the generous people you know. Go to Chuffed.org/project/mendaliasbrokenheart to donate.

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Join the crowd to raise $20,000 in 20 days for Alia

Today we are proud to launch our first ever crowdfunding campaign. We’re raising $20,000 in 20 days so that 15-year-old Alia can have life-saving heart surgery in Australia. Why crowdfunding? We know Australian people want to help their neighbours in Timor-Leste, and crowdfunding provides a way. Please share this post with all the generous people you know. Go to Chuffed.org/project/mendaliasbrokenheart to donate.

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Helping Alia achieve her dream

With a new heart, Alia can work toward her dream of being a doctor and helping others with heart disease. Will you help us Mend Alia’s Broken Heart? Please share this post with all the generous people you know. Go to Chuffed.org/project/mendaliasbrokenheart to donate.

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Words alone cannot describe

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Sneak preview!

SNEAK PREVIEW! Tomorrow we're launching a very special fundraising campaign. We're crowdfunding $20,000 in 20 days to give 15-year-old Alia life-saving heart surgery in Australia. Our crowdfunding page on Chuffed.org will be live tomorrow, 27 September. More details soon! 

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We're making news in Warrnambool!

Thanks to our friends Warrnambool Standard for sharing our exciting news - next Tuesday we'll be launching a crowdfunding campaign to provide life-saving heart surgery for 15 year old Alia. Read all about it - and watch out for more info soon! #mendaliasbrokenheart

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'I feel really healthy and happy'

This morning we bid a fond "adeus and boa viajem" (farewell and safe travels) to our latest patient, 23 year old kinder teacher Eufasia, and companion Fati, from Bairo Pite Clinic in Dili.

Eufasia, who had a successful heart valve repair at Royal Melbourne Hospital earlier this month, is so excited about being able to resume her work as a teacher. "I've not been able to work for almost a year. I really miss teaching. Thank you to all involved for helping me. I feel very happy and healthy," she told us.

We wish Eufrasia the greatest happiness in her new, healthy life.

#mendingbrokenhearts

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A hearty appetite!

Our patient Eufrasia has a healthy appetite since her heart surgery nearly a fortnight ago, so our patient support volunteers Alanah and Sally organised a beautiful dinner for her and Bairo Pite Clinic health support worker/interpreter Fati. Eufrasia has some final medical checks, before being cleared to fly back to Timor-Leste, where she'll be well enough to return to her work as a kindergarten teacher.

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Trans-Timor Trek for healthy hearts

Next July-August our friends EarthTrails Expeditions will lead an incredible trek across Timor, which will help raise funds for our work. Staring in Dili in the north, the trek will finish in Betano in the south, taking in sights including Timor-Leste's highest peak, Mt Ramelau; Balibo and the historic hot springs. Only 15 lucky people will get to take part! More info from EarthTrails Expeditions.Early bird prices apply before 20 November.

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Smiling at a crocodile

Our patient Eufrasia is feeling better every day following her double heart valve repair surgery, so now it's time for some fun, which our volunteer patient support team are experts in arranging. Volunteer Robyn took Eufrasia and interpreter/health support worker Fati to visit Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium - where they found a crocodile, a sacred animal in Timor-Leste.

After some final checkups, Eufrasia should be well enough to return home next week. The 23 year old kindergarten teacher is very much looking forward to being well enough to return to work.

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Toll renews a life-saving partnership

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Out of hospital and one step closer to a new, healthy life

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'I am happy. Thank you to all involved.'

Kindergarten teacher Eufrasia continues to make a great recovery after her double heart valve repair operation at Royal Melbourne Hospital this week. Her appetite is back and she says she can breathe easily. "I am happy. Thank you to all involved," Eufrasia said.

A big thanks also to the wonderful Fati, from Bairo Pite Clinic, who has been at Eufrasia's side throughout, and also to our very own patient support coordinator Ana, and her delicious kaldu na'an manu (Timorese chicken soup with chicken, watercress, ginger, rice and lemongrass), which is helping to restore Eufrasia to health.

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An outstanding result for Eufrasia

***An update from Dr Noel***

 

Good evening all,

We've had what looks like an outstanding result with our patient, Eufrasia.

She had severely leaky aortic and mitral valves, and the resultant increased load on the main pumping chamber of her heart, the left ventricle, led it to progressively expand in size, and to fail.

She was, as a consequence, faced with disabling fatigue and breathlessness, and without surgery, early death.

Cardiac surgeon Michael O'Keefe and the team at RMH successfully repaired both valves today.

In East Timor, no treatment was available.

In Australia, traditionally, the valves would have been replaced.

To repair the valves, with what looks like an excellent functional result, is the ideal outcome in a young woman.

Our organisation has been an enthusiastic supporter of the RMH’s cutting edge valve repair program.

We're seeing the results in Eufrasia's outcome.

Our thanks to Michael, and to all involved at RMH.

We'll keep you posted.

– Dr Noel Bayley, honorary medical adviser

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Welcome to our new Patron, Sir Peter Cosgrove

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'When I get better I want to go back to teaching'

Tomorrow we welcome 23 year old kindergarten teacher Eufrasia to Melbourne. Her heart disease has meant that Eufrasia hasn't been able to teach for the last two years; but we hope all that will change after surgery at Royal Melbourne Hospital next week. Eufrasia has high hopes. "When I get better I want to go back to teaching and continue my study at university," she told us. We'll bring you more news soon!

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A new life for farmer Nelson

Farmer Nelson will soon be back in Timor-Leste, playing with his children and providing for his family, thanks to life-saving medical care provided by our partner Eastern Heart Clinic in Sydney. Thanks to the Southern Courier for this great story.

Click here to read.

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'I am ready to go back to farming in my home town'

A message from our patient Nelson

"I've just been discharged from the hospital today and I already feel so much better. I can breathe better and I can walk without feeling tired or breathless. My appetite is definitely back! I’ve been enjoying the hospital food.

All the doctors, nurses and everyone at the hospital are so loving and caring. I could not believe it when one of the nurses offered to feed me, as I was struggling a bit with the drips in my arms. I can proudly say that I've been very well looked after since my arrival in Sydney. I am looking forward to sharing my wonderful experience with my family and friends. 

I feel that I am ready to go back to farming in my home town of Venilale, Timor-Leste. 

Obrigadu barak to East Timor Hearts Fund, Bairo Pite Clinic, Dr Simon Eggleton, the surgeons and all the doctors and staff at Eastern Heart Clinic and Prince of Wales Private Hospital, all the volunteers and everyone involved. None of this would've been possible without your help and generosity. God bless you all, Nelson."

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'This is a milestone for East Timor Hearts Fund'

An update from Dr Noel

Good morning,

I'm delighted to report that Nelson’s mitral balloon, performed by Professor Roger Allan and Dr Virag Kushwala at the Eastern Heart Clinic in Sydney has gone extremely well. Nelson is now recovering well at Prince of Wales Private Hospital.

As a result of the procedure we have seen a dramatic fall in the pressure across the valve, and the consequent back pressure on his lungs, the cause of his disabling symptoms.

Nelson will be discharged from hospital today, and back to East Timor, transformed, next week.

Our thanks to the team, including volunteer medical team member, Sydney cardiologist Simon Eggleton. Simon saw Nelson at our clinics in Dili earlier in the year, and worked hard to arrange for his treatment in Australia.

This is a milestone for East Timor Hearts Fund, as Nelson is our first case outside Victoria.

We're delighted it went so well.

Dr Noel Bayley

Honorary medical adviser

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Happy birthday Fati!

Coming to Australia for major heart surgery is a stressful experience, and that's why our patients always travel with a health support worker/interpreter by their side. One of the best is Fatima Mendonca, from Bairo Pite Clinic in Dili, who has made dozens of trips to Australia supporting our patients. Fati is currently in Sydney, with our latest patient Nelson. We're giving Fati a big shout out because today is her birthday, and she's spending it a long way from home, family and friends. Happy birthday Fati, and thank you for being there for our patients.

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Generosity x 5 - thanks Cardioscan

Today's ETHF Herogram is going out to our friend Cardioscan, which has just donated five pre-loved but totally top-notch ECG machines, used for heart screening. Chief technical officer Asaf Ziv handed over the booty today to our honorary medical adviser, Dr Noel Bayley. The machines will soon be making their way to Timor-Leste, where they will be put to good use by our partner Bairo Pite Clinic and in the new cardiac care ward at Guido Valadares National Hospital. Thanks Cardioscan for this wonderful donation.

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Benvindu Nelson!

Benvindu Nelson! We're very excited to welcome our latest patient Nelson, 31, a farmer and father of three. The symptoms and worry of his heart disease have limited almost every aspect of Nelson's life, so he's super excited to be here, with medical help only days away. 

Nelson is our first patient to be treated in Sydney, under new partnerships with Eastern Heart Clinic and Prince of Wales Private Hospital.

"To all the doctors and donors and everyone else who has done so much for me, I cannot reciprocate but I can only say thank you very much for the support, and also I’ll praying to God to bless you all," Nelson told us.

We'll be bringing you more updates about Nelson soon.

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East Timor Hearts Fund goes national with new Sydney partners

East Timor Hearts Fund goes national with new Sydney partners

14 August 2016

East Timor Hearts Fund is delighted to announce new partnerships with two leading New South Wales medical institutions, in a significant expansion of our program.

 

Recently signed agreements with Eastern Heart Clinic and Prince of Wales Private Hospitals, both in Randwick, will see nine patients treated in Sydney over the next three years.

 

Eastern Heart Clinic will provide day cardiac procedures for patients, and Prince of Wales Private Hospital will provide post-operative care.

 

These latest partnerships are the first outside Victoria, and bring a welcome national focus to our growing organisation.

 

They are part of our organisation’s plan to increase the scale and scope of our work. As well as treating up to 20 patients a year in Australia, our goal is to support the development of capacity in Timor-Leste with projects including visiting surgical teams, health and medical training and research and preventative programs.

 

The first patient under the agreement will be treated this month.

 

We are excited at the opportunity to work with Eastern Heart Clinic and Prince of Wales Private Hospital (owned by Healthscope) and thank both organisations sincerely for their support of our mission of delivering world-class cardiac care to our neighbours in Timor-Leste.

 

 

 

Ingrid Svendsen                                Ken Dusting

Board Chair                                        Chief Executive Officer

 

 

 Download the news release (PDF download)

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Thumbs up for healthy hearts!

Paulo and his mum Regina have arrived back in Timor-Leste, and the whole family gives Paulo's new heart the big thumbs up!

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'I will always have a special place in my heart for you'

Thirteen year old Paulo is now back in Timor-Leste, ready to enjoy his new healthy life. Before flying out he wrote this note.

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$20,000 raised in 8 weeks - thank you!

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'I can't believe I did the 5k run,' says heart patient Melinda

Our Run Melbourne ambassador, patient Melinda, has arrived home in Timor-Leste, still on a high. She sent us this pic of her mum Olinda (who travelled to Australia with her), dad Gil and cousins, and asked us to pass on this message:

"Obrigada barak to ETHF and all involved for giving me a new healthy heart back in 2014. Considering how sick I was two years ago, I can't believe that I did the 5km run yesterday! It is a big achievement for me. On behalf of my family and I, I would like to thank all the wonderful organisers for the fantastic 2016 fun run.

BIG obrigada also to my sponsors Aspect Skin Care and Smith + Tracey Architects. Soccer and running are my favourite sports. Without the help of my sponsors and ETHF my mother and I wouldn't have made it for this year's fun run to help raise funds for my favourite charity ETHF."

Our New Heart for Paulo Appeal is now a mere $1100 away from our appeal goal. Give Melinda a big thumbs up for her achievement in the best way possible - make your donation here

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Run Melbourne 2016 - it's a wrap!

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On top of the world

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Week 14: See you at Run Melbourne!

Hi all,

Race day is finally upon us on Sunday. I'm using this week to taper off and carb up for the 10k.

I'm looking forward to seeing you at the event, so please come past our marquee and say hi. We'll be doing a big team photo at 8.30am, so hope you can come a little earlier to be in that.

For those who are running and walking here is the timetable for the 5k and 10k:

  •  8:45am: Bulk Nutrients 10km run warm up, Main Stage
  • 9:15am: Bulk Nutrients 10km run starts, St Kilda Road
  • 10:00am: Runner’s World 5km run/walk warm up Main Stage
  • 10:30am: Runner’s World 5km run/walk starts, St Kilda Road

I went through my running data since I started training three months ago. In all I recorded 27 separate sessions for a total distance of 149km  that’s roughly the distance from Melbourne to Morwell!

Thanks for following my blog. I hope sharing the training journey has provided some fun, and ideally motivation.

Good luck to all those running this Sunday.

Leon

 

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A football dream come true for Paulo

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