2014 news archive

Happy new year from Lucas, Ana Clarita, Tomas, Agripino, Jeca, Melinda and all of us at East Timor Hearts Fund!

Six young Timorese patients are tonight celebrating the new year with their families. Thanks to you.

www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/get-involved/

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It's a bargain!

If you're taking advantage of the post-Christmas sales, don't forget you can help us to assist more heart patients from Timor-Leste by doing online shopping via Shopnate. Just set up a free account (takes moments and you don't need to hand over any confidential info). Then shop online at big name stores, and they will donate up to 8 per cent of the value to us at no extra cost to you. What a great deal!

Click here to set up your account!

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Media release - Timorese teen kicks goals after Australian heart surgery

Media release - Timorese teen kicks goals after Australian heart surgery

19 December 2014

Taking to the pitch with some of Australia’s top women footballers only a week after life-saving heart surgery is a dream come true for East Timorese teenager Melinda Freitas.

Today Melinda, 17, celebrated her return to good health with a friendly kick with Melbourne Victory Women’s captain Steph Catley and players Emma Checker, Gulcan Koca, Lisa De Vanna and Caitlin Friend

The Australian medical aid charity East Timor Hearts Fund brought Melinda to Australia for the operation, with assistance from Australian donors and corporate sponsors.

The secondary student was gravely ill with acute mitral stenosis, caused by childhood rheumatic fever. Worsening symptoms, including breathlessness, weakness and lack of appetite, had robbed her of her ability to pursue her passions – soccer and study.

“I feel like a new person now,” Melinda said after her operation. “I can't wait to go back to school as my dream is to one day become a doctor. I would like to be doutora fuan (cardiologist).

“I am also looking forward to playing soccer again with my friends and team. I am a good soccer striker!”

When Melbourne Victory Women’s heard about Melinda’s story they organised a celebratory kick, and presented her with a team jersey with her name and favourite number, seven,  the number of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

East Timor Hearts Fund chair Ingrid Svendsen said it was a dream come true for Melinda and her family.

“Only a week ago Melinda’s life was in danger and she was too weak and breathless to walk a block. It’s very inspiring to see her running and kicking and to know that she can now go back to school and pursue her dreams.”

“This is an experience that Melinda will remember for life, and I want to thank Melbourne Victory Women’s for making it possible.”

Melinda’s mum, Olinda, who travelled to Australia with her daughter, also extended her thanks to the team, as well as Royal Melbourne Hospital and East Timor Hearts Fund.

"I can't believe that my daughter is a different person now,” Olinda said. “She is now able to walk without feeling breathless, her appetite is back and she does not fell tired like before. From the bottom of my heart, my family and I would like to everyone that has made this possible.”

To make a tax deductible donation go to easttimorheartsfund.org.au.

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Media release - Timorese teen kicks goals after Aussie heart surgery

19 December 2014

Taking to the pitch with some of Australia’s top women footballers only a week after life-saving heart surgery is a dream come true for East Timorese teenager Melinda Freitas.

Today Melinda, 17, celebrated her return to good health with a friendly kick with Melbourne Victory Women’s captain Steph Catley and players Emma Checker, Gulcan Koca, Lisa De Vanna and Caitlin Friend

The Australian medical aid charity East Timor Hearts Fund brought Melinda to Australia for the operation, with assistance from Australian donors and corporate sponsors.

The secondary student was gravely ill with acute mitral stenosis, caused by childhood rheumatic fever. Worsening symptoms, including breathlessness, weakness and lack of appetite, had robbed her of her ability to pursue her passions – soccer and study.

“I feel like a new person now,” Melinda said after her operation. “I can't wait to go back to school as my dream is to one day become a doctor. I would like to be doutora fuan (cardiologist).

“I am also looking forward to playing soccer again with my friends and team. I am a good soccer striker!”

When Melbourne Victory Women’s heard about Melinda’s story they organised a celebratory kick, and presented her with a team jersey with her name and favourite number, seven,  the number of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

East Timor Hearts Fund chair Ingrid Svendsen said it was a dream come true for Melinda and her family.

“Only a week ago Melinda’s life was in danger and she was too weak and breathless to walk a block. It’s very inspiring to see her running and kicking and to know that she can now go back to school and pursue her dreams.”

“This is an experience that Melinda will remember for life, and I want to thank Melbourne Victory Women’s for making it possible.”

Melinda’s mum, Olinda, who travelled to Australia with her daughter, also extended her thanks to the team, as well as Royal Melbourne Hospital and East Timor Hearts Fund.

"I can't believe that my daughter is a different person now,” Olinda said. “She is now able to walk without feeling breathless, her appetite is back and she does not fell tired like before. From the bottom of my heart, my family and I would like to everyone that has made this possible.”

To make a tax deductible donation go to easttimorheartsfund.org.au.

 

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'I can't wait to go back to school!'

Melinda is feeling so much better! She tackled a bowl of our patient support coordinator Ana's famous Água-Sal Ikan (fish soup) yesterday.

Melinda's told us: “I feel like a new person now. I can't wait to go back to school as my dream is to one day become a doctor. I would like to be doutora fuan (cardiologist). I am also looking forward to playing soccer again with my friends and team. I am a good soccer striker!”

PS: We've organised a big surprise for Melinda tomorrow. We can't tell you what it is, but watch this page for updates!

www.givenow.com.au/easttimorhearts

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'My daughter is a different person now'

Melinda's mum Olinda is thrilled with the transformation in her daughter, less than a week after her heart surgery. 

"I can't believe that my daughter is a different person now," Olinda told us. "She is now able to walk without feeling breathless, her appetite is back and she does not fell tired like before.

"From the bottom of my heart, my family and I would like to thank ETHF, the surgeons, doctors, all the staff at Royal Melbourne Hospital and everyone that has made this possible.

"We don't have much to give but we've bought small gifts for ETHF from Timor, tais and postcards for Christmas that I've helped to assemble. 

"Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year to you all and may God bless you always!

"Obrigada Barak (thank you so much)! 

"Please continue to do the amazing work you are doing!"

Thank you for the beautiful gifts Olinda, we are very touched.

To help patients like Melinda go to www.givenow.com.au/easttimorhearts

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Kicking with champs - a football dream come true

It was a dream come true today when Melinda got to have a kick with Australian champs Steph Catley, Brianna Davey, Caitlin Friend and Emma Checker. The Melbourne Victory Women's team members also presented Melinda with a signed jersey. Thanks to these kind hearted sports stars, and Football Federation Victoria for this great story. http://bit.ly/13j0rez 

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Help us help more patients - by shopping!

Melinda had heart surgery less than a week ago. Now she's ready to get back to school and play soccer again!

There's now a new way to help us to help patients like Melinda.

East Timor Hearts Fund has joined Shopnate, a new service for charities and shoppers. Just register for free here, shop online at leading stores and the retailers will donate up to 8 per cent to us!

Click here to register today. It only takes a moment, and it's free.

Then, when you shop online at leading outlets including Asos, Expedia, The Iconic and Adairs, the stores will donate to us to help patients like Melinda, at no extra cost to you.

Thank you from Melinda and all of us at East Timor Hearts Fund. Happy Christmas and happy shopping!

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Melinda on the mend

Our patient support coordinator Ana visited Melinda today and reports that she is in great spirits and has been up and about for her first walk already. We know Melinda is feeling a lot better as she has put in a request for some of Ana's famous health-giving ('Água Sal' Timorese fish soup)! 

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Smiles after surgery

Twelve hours after her surgery Melinda managed a smile when Dr Noel paid a visit this morning. She continues to make a great recovery and will be out of intensive care today. A big thanks to surgeon Marco Larobina and all of the team at Royal Melbourne Hospital.

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'The best outcome we could have hoped for'

An update from Dr Noel:

Hi all,

I just had a call from Marco Larobina, at Royal Melbourne Hospital.

I'm delighted to say that he was able to repair (as opposed to replace) Melinda's mitral valve.

The operation went very smoothly and we expect her to have a quick recovery.

The long term results should be excellent. This is the best outcome we could have hoped for, and a tribute to the skill of Marco and his team. Repairing valves in this situation is quite the trick!

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First stop for Melinda - a home cooked meal

Although a little weary from their all day journey from Timor-Leste, our patient Melinda, her mum Olinda and Fatima from Bairo Pite Clinic were excited to arrive in Melbourne last night. Our volunteer photographer Mat Lynn caught up with the ladies briefly before our volunteer coordinator Ana (pictured left) and her husband Inacio whisked them away for a family meal. Today Melinda has some pre-op tests and appointments before her surgery tomorrow at Royal Melbourne Hospital. More updates soon!

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Best wishes Melinda!

With Melinda due to have open heart surgery tomorrow, the thoughts of all of us at East Timor Hearts Fund are with our patient and her mum Olinda. Replacing a heart valve is a big, complex procedure but we know Melinda will be in the safest of hands with our friends at Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Photo: Mat Lyn

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Welcome Melinda!

We're excited! Our latest patient Melinda, 17, and her mum Olinda, arrive in Melbourne tomorrow. Melinda is having valve replacement surgery at Royal Melbourne Hospital on Friday.
Please feel free to leave your messages of support here - we'll make sure Melinda sees them.

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What's on our Christmas wish list?

What's on our Christmas wish list? Find out in our latest supporter e-news.

http://eepurl.com/9Sfhn

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We're hiring!

We're hiring! If you are interested in this exciting opportunity to be our inaugural CEO please contact Susie from Rusher Rogers.

PS: A big thank you to our friends Rusher Rogers who have donated their services.   

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Driven to distraction!

Our latest newsletter is a great read - just ask our friends from Russell Kennedy lawyers, who helped with the mail out. Instead of stamping and enveloping, the team found themselves engrossed in the content. But we're pleased to say that they did get it into the post - eventually. Thanks RK!

If you missed it, the online version is available here.

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Thanks Radno Group!

All of us at ETHF would like to extend a big thank you to Lesley Yates and the team at Radno Group. Lesley is a governance guru who has been assisting us with some invaluable advice, and recently convened an excellent workshop on governance for our directors. Thanks Lesley!

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Calling all karaoke superstars!

The countdown is well and truly on with our Bondi karaoke fundraising spectacular only just over a week away (next Friday 21 November). As you can see, our karaoke superstars are taking every opportunity to get some practice in! Don't miss out - book your tickets now at Tyrbooking.

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Be the first to know!

Our latest e-news is out now. In this edition:

• Commandos on a mission!

• We're planning a healthy future for East Timor Hearts Fund - find out what's on our agenda.

• An eventful few months for Dr Noel and the medical team

• Meet our new board member Professor Andrew Cochrane 

• Karaoke for a cause.

Read the newsletter on the web here.

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Welcome to the team Professor Andrew Cochrane

We are extremely proud to welcome our board Professor Andrew Cochrane. Andrew last year won an order of Australia award for his work in Timor-Leste and other developing countries, and has operated on a number of our patients. You can read Andrew's bio on our website here.

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Rock the Heart of Bondi

Sing in a Live Band  presents 'Rock the Heart of Bondi’, a karaoke singing competition extraveganza to help provide life-saving heart surgery on Friday 21 November.

Karaoke stars who front our live rock’n’roll band will battle for a $1000 prize. It’s all to raise funds to help East Timor Hearts Fund provide heart surgery for young East Timorese people.
A sizzling BBQ dinner and drinks available to purchase.
Doors open at 7.30pm. Tickets $30, entry to karaoke sing off $50.
Tickets are limited and selling fast! Book here

 

CONTACT DETAILS: Andrew Coorey: quiz@bigpond.com or Tel: 0417 240 071

www.singinaliveband.com

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'Please join me for barbecued corn in Dili'

Farewell Jeca

Jeca, Marquita and Alarico flew out this morning. A new heart for Jeca and a new life beckoning.
Before she boarded the plane an emotional Marquita had a final message: "Dala Ida tan obrigada barak (once again thank you so much) for everything that ETHF and everyone involved have done for my son. My family and I will never be able to repay you." 
Marquita, who has a food stall on the beach in Dili with her husband, also extended an invitation to all of our ETHF family: "I hope that you all come and visit me in Timor-Leste one day so that I can cook you all some corn free of charge as a way of saying thank you again for everything." 
www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/get-involved/

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Tears and applause for Jeca's dream

Victoria University health forum

Jeca, Marquita and our patient support coordinator and board director Ana Saldanha were guests at a forum on health needs in Timor-Leste at Victoria University in Melbourne last night. Ana made a presentation about our work. We were quite chuffed when one of the presenters, Professor Benjamin Corte-Real from the National University of Timor-Leste (who also works in the office of the president), said: "I personally think (I am sure that everyone here in this room feels the same way) that Ms Saldanha and ETHF are doing such an amazing work to save the lives of those in need of a new heart! May God bless you always, and may you continue to do the work you are doing. Thank you so much."
But the real highlight was the thunderous applause when Ana told the crowd of Jeca's dream to be a doctor. There were lots of tears!
A big thanks to the organisers for having us along, to Jeca and Marquita for sharing their story, and to our patient support coordinator extraordinaire Ana, for sharing our successes.
www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/get-involved/

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Jeca's now on track for good health

Jeca's train ride

With a newly healthy heart and a clean bill of health, our inspirational young man Jeca is due to head home to Timor-Leste tomorrow. But before he goes we've been determined to give Jeca and his mum Marquita some fun. Yesterday it was a trip to the city with a meal out (Jeca's appetite has returned!) and some sightseeing. For the Jeca it was the first time on a train, and he enjoyed the experience, as you can see!

www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/get-involved/

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Jeca's Journey - our patient Jeca's a tv star!

Our thanks to ABC TV - veteran reporter Norman Hermant and producer Sam Clarke - for telling Jeca's story so beautifully.

What did you think? Leave us a review in the comments below!

And if you are inspired by our work, find out how you can help here www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/get-involved/

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Happy World Heart Day

Happy World Heart Day!

We're celebrating by reflecting on the 20 young lives turned around in the last four years by the treatment we've been able to offer, with your support. 

We're also thinking about what more needs to be done to tackle rheumatic heart disease, the cause of the heart problems of most of our patients.

Please view and share this great video (which features a few familiar faces), if you you want to know more.

And to find out how to support our work, you can go to www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/get-involved/

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'Saving a life' - Jeca's story,as told by the ABC

We're excited to see the story of our 11 year old patient Jeca featured on ABC TV news nationally tonight. We'll share that story soon.

In the meantime we hope you enjoy this moving photo-essay and multi-media piece by the ABC's Sam Clarke, who was also there to witness Jeca's heart procedure on Thursday. View it here.

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Watch ABC TV news tomorrow night to see our star Jeca!

Ingrid Svendsen and Richard Harper

Don't forget to tune in to ABC-TV 7pm news tomorrow night to see ABC legend Norman Hermant's story about Jeca's heart procedure and recovery. Norman seen a lot as a foreign correspondent all over the world, including most recently in Moscow, but even this veteran journalist had a tear in his eye in the surgical suite as he and producer Sam Clarke witnessed a little life being returned. The story features our board chair Ingrid Svendsen, Professor Richard Harper of MonashHeart and of course, the star of the show, Jeca and his mum Marquita.
PS: If you want the back story, please see Foreign Correspondent's excellent story on our partner in Dili, Bairo Pite Clinic, which aired last month -www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2014/s4065856.htm

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First steps to a healthy future for little Jeca

It might not look like much of a feat, but this is a great moment - less than 24 hours after his heart procedure a MonashHeart in Melbourne, for the first time in years, Jeca walks without pain and breathlessness. He'll be riding his bike, playing football and joining his friends at school in no time!
www.easttimorheartsfund.org.Australia/get-involved

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Joy and relief as our brave little man pulls through

Jeca

Joy and relief here at ETHF HQ - little Jeca is recovering in intensive care after his heart valve procedure this afternoon with Professor Richard Harper and the team of medical magicians at MonashHeart.
This brave little man can now take his first steps toward realising his dream of becoming a doctor.
Our sincerest thanks to the medical team at MonashHeart and all at MonashHealth, and of course to all of you, whose ongoing support makes it possible for us to give young people and children like Jeca a second chance at life.
www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/get-involved/

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'My dream is to be a doctor one day'

Jeca Pereira

Tonight the thoughts of all of us at East Timor Hearts Fund are with little Jeca and his mum Marquita. Tomorrow Jeca, 11, will undergo a mitral balloon procedure at MonashHeart. We believe he is the smallest and youngest patient to have the procedure in Australia. Jeca is gravely ill, he can walk no more than 100 metres without pain and breathlessness, but he has big plans for when he is well again and can go back to school. "I would like to be a doctor one day. That is my dream!” he told us.

Please watch this page. We'll update you as soon as we can tomorrow.

www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/get-involved/

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'Soon I can go back to school and play with friends'

Visitors for Jeca

Our hard working patient support coordinator Ana and her family paid a visit to our patient Jeca and his mum Marquita tonight. They are both in good spirits. Tomorrow Jeca has a pre-op checkup ahead of his mitral balloon procedure at MonashHeart on Thursday. Jeca says he looks forward to being strong enough to ride his bike, play with his friends and go back to school. His mum Marquita said: "We know that Jeca is in good hands. We are confident that he will have his normal life back. We know that we will never be able to repay you back. The only thing we can do is pray to God to look after you all. Thank you so much."

PS: See Jeca in ABC TV's excellent story Foreign Correspondent story here.

Find out how you can help patients like Jeca on our website here www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/get-involved/

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11 years old with critical heart disease - help for Jeca

Jeca Pereira

This gorgeous little boy, Jeca, 11, is now on his way to Australia for a life-saving heart procedure. Jeca is critically ill, with severe mitral stenosis. We're very hopeful that with the best care in the world, from our friends at MonashHeart in Melboure, he'll soon be running and jumping like all of his friends. Jeca, his mum Marquita, and Alarico from Bairo Pite Clinic arrive tomorrow. Watch out for more news!
PS: Jeca featured in the  recent excellent story by ABC TV's Foreign Correspondent. Here's a link (Jeca is at around 24.30).

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'Thank you for giving us a second chance in life'

Agripino and Lourenco

Today we bid a fond farewell to Agripino (and trusty companion Lourenco from Bairo Pite Clinic). It's been an exciting fortnight in Australia (including heart surgery and getting up close and personal with some kangaroos) but Agripino was understandably looking forward to getting home to his young family.
Before he left he told us: Thank you ETHF, Royal Melbourne Hospital staff and everyone that has helped me and the previous patients. You've giving us a second chance in life. May God bless you all! Obrigadu barak!"

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The healing power of Timorese fish soup!

Agripino

Our cardiologists and surgeons are amazing, but we never doubt the healing powers of a good bowl of Agua-Sal ikan (Timorease fish soup). In this case made by our patient support coordinator Ana Saldanha. Agripino, who had heart surgery at Royal Melbourne Hospital on Wednesday, continues to make a great recovery. While he was more interested in the soup than chatting, he did pause to say: "I am feeling so much better. Better then yesterday. I can't believe I was able to walk on my own this morning and without feeling tired and breathless! The nurses and doctors are really nice and so caring. Thank you all once again."
www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/get-involved/

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'I feel like a new person already!'

Agripino

Agripino is out of ICU following yesterday's heart surgery and already well enough to be asking our patient support coordinator Ana for Timorese fish soup!
Agripino works on a coffee plantation to support his family and said his heart disease made every day a struggle. Now he is confident of a normal life.
"I feel like a new person already! I can breathe so much easier now, and don't feel so tired," he told Ana.
"I am looking forward to going back home to play with my one year old son.
"Thank you so much for giving me a second chance in life. I am forever grateful for everything that ETHF and everyone involved has done for me, and the previous patients
"Thank you ETHF, Royal Melbourne Hospital staff and everyone that has helped save my life. May God bless you all!"
And thanks to you, our supporters, whose generosity allows us to help patients like Agripino.

www.easttimorheartsfund.org.au/get-involved/

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Welcome to Australia Agripino!

Agripino and Lourenco

A warm welcome to Melbourne on this chilly first day of Spring to Agripino and trusty offsider Lourenco from Bairo Pite Clinic.
The boys are in good spirits after warming up with a yummy Timorese dinner of Agua sal naan ruin, traditional Timorese soup, whipped up by chauffeur, cook and general all round great guy Inacio. Pre-op appointments tomorrow with surgeon Marco Larobina at Royal Melbourne Hospital. More soon!

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Thanks MonashHeart for this heartwarming story

Professor Richard Harper and Ana Clarita

When Darwin paediactric cardiologist Dr Bo Remenyi identified a critically ill 14 year old girl during a medical visit to Timor-Leste, East Timor Hearts Fund and our friends MonashHeart swung into action. A month later Ana Clarita's heart disease is dramatically improved has regained her childhood.

A big thanks to our friends at MonashHeart and Monash Health for making this heartwarming story possible.

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Catch Bairo Pite Clinic and ETHF on tv

Tomas Pinto

A big thanks to ABC TV's Foreign Correspondent program for the moving story on our partner in Dili, Bairo Pite Clinic. If you missed the program you can watch here or more information about the program here.

 

 

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An emotional journey for our sponsor Macquarie Telecom

Mactel meets Evangelina

Patient Evangelina today received a visit from our sponsor Macquarie Telecom. CEO David Tudehope and a team from the telco are in Timor-Leste, getting a first hand view of our work. This morning's highlight was a visit to see our volunteer medical team in action doing screening clinics at our partner Bairo Pite Clinic, and meeting mother of three Evangelina. Evangelina will be having surgery in Australia later this year, with financial assistance from Macquarie Telecom. The Mactel team will also meet previous patients that we have partnered to assist, including Lucas, the 14 year old who got his dream of playing soccer again after surgery in Melbourne earlier in the year.

It's going to be an emotional and action packed visit for the Mactel team. We thank them for their commitment in travelling to Timor-Leste to see our work.

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Our right hand man!

Akaricio

There are a lot of totally indispensable people in our East Timor Hearts Fund world, and none more so than our right hand man Alarico da Conceicao, a social worker with our partner Bairo Pite Clinic. He assists with organising the clinics that Dr Noel and our volunteer medical team run in Dili; deals with no end of paperwork and headaches to arrange visas and passports for our patients; and perhaps most importantly, accompanies our patients to Australia. He's been numerous times now with Leonito, Lucas and many more patients. For our patients experiencing the stress of major surgery and the shock of a new country, Alarico is a lifeline, interpreting, explaining, arranging, always by their side. He has a young family and work and study commitments of his own, so coming to Australia several times a year is a big sacrifice. Thank you just isn't enough but it will have to do.

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Home with new heart, bye bye Tomas and Nina

Tomas and Nina

Our patients Tomas and Nina are about to board their flight back to Timor-Leste. What an action packed trip it has been! Their first ever fun run, making headlines in the newspapers and of course a life-saving heart procedure for Tomas. They'll never forget the experience, and neither will we.

Before he left Tomas asked us to pass on a message: "No amount of money could ever repay what the team at MonashHeart and East Timor Hearts Fund have done for me. I can only pray for you all so that you have prosperity and health always."

We'd like to thank all who donated to the $20k for Tomas appeal. We're still doing the final totals, but we made our target, and raised enough to offer treatment to another patient. So stand by for news on that!

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/20k-for-tomas

Bon voyage Tomas and Nina, and thank you.

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Happy hearts!

Tomas and Nina, by Daniel Mendelbaum

We had the best day at Run Melbourne, raising funds for our $20k for Tomas appeal. The highlight was watching patients Tomas and Nina - both too sick to walk a block without pain and breathlessness prior to their heart procedures - taking part. Please help us help other patients - donate at https://give.everydayhero.com/au/20k-for-tomas
A big thanks to everyone who helped, donated and participated, and our event sponsors Aspect Skin Care and Susan Bell. 
Pics by the wonderful Daniel Mendelbaum, from Daniel M Photo-Graphics, who donated his time today. See the full set here and on our Facebook page.

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'God bless you for saving our dad'

Our patient Tomas is recuperating after his heart procedure and will be going home to his family next week. We were touched to receive this photo and message from Tomas's children and family:

"Tomas families (on the picture with happy faces, Tomas's father, wife, daughters and son) would like to thank you very much to professor Richard Harper & Health professionals at MonashHeart and Monash Health for saving Tomas lives. Also, we would like to thank you very much to East Timor Heart Found and everyone who have donated and supported Tomas. Once again thank you very much for your generosity and kind help. We don't have anything to offer you but we only pray to God to give you success and happiness in life. God bless you all. Obrigado, thank you."

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'Thank you for saving my brother'

Tomas

On Monday teacher and father of three Tomas Pinto arrived in Melbourne, weak and breathless from his heart disease. Today he is all smiles. Tomas had a mitral valve procedure yesterday at MonashHeart in Melbourne. All went well and he is making a great recovery. Our thanks to Professor Richard Harper and the wonderful teams at MonashHeart and Monash Health.

 

Tomas's brother Eddy has sent us this touching message: "On behalf of our family, I would like to thank you very much for your generosity and kind help to save my brother Tomas's life. All of the family are very happy with the result of the operation. We don't have anything to offer you guys but we can only pray to God to give you success and happiness in life. "

 

Help patients like Tomas; donate to the $20k for Tomas appeal here 

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On the cusp of a whole new life

Tomas Pinto

We're sending the very best wishes of everyone at ETHF Tomas's way. He has his heart valve procedure tomorrow. He's on the cusp of a whole new life! Thank you to all of you, who have donated and supported Tomas. He would not be here without you.

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/tomas-pinto

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Bon voyage Ana Clarita!

Ana Clarita

We're so happy, and a little bit sad too. In the morning adorable Ana Clarita heads home to Timor-Leste, following her heart valve procedure last week. She is such a beautiful girl we wish she could have stayed longer. But at the same time, we are so thrilled that now she can have a childhood, and a healthy life.
We would like to thank again Professor Richard Harper and all of the specialist teams at MonashHeart and Monash Health who made Ana Clarita's successful procedure possible. And also Faitma and Gregorio and all of those who supported her while she was in Australia; a stressful ordeal and especially for one as gravely ill as Ana Clarita was before her procedure.
Dr Noel heads to Timor-Leste next month. He'll check up on Ana Clarita then and let us know how she is going.
Bon voyage Ana Clarita! Enjoy your health and happiness.

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Heartfelt thanks to a quiet achiever

Fati and Ana Clarita in theatre

We spend a lot of time lauding the medical teams that perform such amazing work for our patients, but there is a quiet achiever whose contribution is also vitally important - the wonderful Fatima Mendonca from Bairo Pite Clinic. Fati has been by Ana Clarita's side since she left Timor-Leste, and provided much-needed comfort when Ana Clarita was understandably terrified in the operating theatre. As you can see from this photo, Fati is a warm and caring person who deals with any crisis and instantly puts people at ease. We couldn't do what we do without her, and we say thanks from the bottom of our hearts.

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She an inspiration!

Our previous  patient Nina arrived in Melbourne last night. This time last year Nina had serious heart disease and was weak and breathless. Since her heart valve procedure at MonashHeart she's made a full recovery and is now running 10k twice a week in training for Run Melbourne. Nina is doing the run to help raise funds so other patients can have the same opportunity. Sponsor her at https://give.everydayhero.com/au/joaninha-faria 

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A life saved, a life transformed

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Tiny, cold and frail, Ana Clarita arrives

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Praying for Ana Clarita

Ana Clarita

Thank you for all of your good wishes for little Ana Clarita. We are delighted to let you know that she will be arriving in 12 days' time, and will be having a heart valve procedure at MonashHeart on 17 July. We would like to thank Monash Health for agreeing so quickly to help Ana Clarita, and our foundation sponsor Toll Remote Logistics, which has arranged her travel.We are all hoping and praying for a happy outcome for Ana Clarita.

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Mercy dash for 14 year old Ana Clarita

Ana Clarita

This is Ana Clarita. She is 14, weighs only 24 kilos and has critical mitral stenosis. We recently received an emergency request for help from Darwin paediatric cardiologist Dr Bo Remenyi, who examined Ana Clarita during a trip to Timor-Leste this month. Dr Bo advises that Ana Clarita's prospects are extremely grim without immediate assistance, so we are now racing to get her to Australia for treatment. 
Please look out for updates. And if you would like to make a tax deductible donation to help Ana Clarita and patients like her, details are here.

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Teachers unite to help Tomas

Tomas Pinto and class

It's great to see Melbourne teachers rallying to help our patient Tomas, a maths teacher at 28 de Novembro high school in Dili. Over the last day we've had generous donations from the at Box Hill Institute and also from Kangan Institute, matching fundraising by their staff. It's very touching to see Australian educators extending the hand of friendship to help one of their own in Timor-Leste.

If you or your school or tertiary institution would like to donate to the $20k for Tomas appeal before 30 June there's still time. Click here to donate securely online.

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'When I am well I'll teach again.' Latest e-news out now!

Our latest e-news is out now! Download it here.

In this edition:
- 'I'm astonished,' says Dr Noel
- 300 party people create a whole lot of generosity
- 'When I'm well I'll teach again': how you can help Tomas and boost your tax return.
Please enjoy and share.

 

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Our fundraising benefit - what a night!

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Introducing our new volunteers

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Our first ever annual report!

2013 annual report

We are pleased and proud to present our first ever annual report, another important milestone for our young organisation.

As well as a financial overview, the report gives you snapshot of what we've been up to over the reporting period and also some of the back story about how we came to be.

We hope you find it an interesting read, and we urge you to share it with your friends, colleagues and networks. We aspire to grow and assist more patients in coming years, and to do this we need further donor support.

Thanks are due to those who assisted with the annual report including  our volunteer photographers Mat Lynn, Eric Jong, Josh Crupi and also Ralph Parkhurst from Macquarie Telecom; our pro bono designer Struck & Spink, which provided original artwork; and most of all to Brian and Kay from FullPoint Media, who worked tirelessly to develop the concept and write and design the document. We are enormously grateful to the FullPoint Media team for their generous contribution, which includes kindly paying printing costs.

You can download the report from our website here, or if you need a printed copy, please contact us.

 

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A day at the zoo for Lucas

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A Timorese feast for Lucas

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Lucas kicks goals (with Melbourne Victory)

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Brauer College students kicking in for Lucas

Braeur College students and Dr Noel

Dr Noel had some special visitors this morning. Students from Brauer College in Warrnambool, Victoria, Dr Noel's home town, dropped by with a gift for Lucas. The year 8 biology class have been following Lucas's case, learning about healthy heart and lung function and studying ASD or hole in the heart, the condition that Lucas was born with. The students have been so inspired by Lucas's story that they raised money to buy him a soccer ball, which thanks to his operation he'll soon be well enough to use. 

Our big thanks to all of the year 8 biology class, including Lewis Campbell-Gavin, Bronte Baker, Grace Bell and Chloe Lovell (pictured) and their teacher Delia Jenkins. 

Dr Noel will give the ball to Lucas, and a note from the students translated into Tetum, when he next visits.

Our sincere thanks to this great group of students for their touching and compassionate gesture.

Please contact us if your school would like to get involved in supporting our work.

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Lucas's surgery, a photo essay by Eric Jong

Lucas's operation
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Lucas on the road to recovery

We have just received word from surgeon Professor Andrew Cochrane that Lucas's procedure this morning at Monash Health went extremely well. Thanks for all of your good wishes. More news soon!

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A whole new Aspect on generosity!

Aspect Skin Care

We are totally thrilled to announce that Aspect Skin Care has joined us as a major sponsor of our 2014 The Age Run Melbourne team. Thanks Aspect, we are incredibly grateful.
We have now officially registered our team with Run Melbourne, so please go to their website and sign up, nominating the East Timor Hearts Fund team  If you have already signed up, you can still nominate us as your team.
And to stay up to date with coming training events and other news, please go to the events tab on our Facebook page and rsvp.
A big thanks to Aspect Skin Care, whose generosity will help us to raise funds for lifesaving heart surgery for young Timorese.

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From phone cards to fish soup - our patient support team makes it happen

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Preparing a warm welcome for Lucas

Lucas and Dr Noel

We are so excited at East Timor Hearts Fund tonight as our next patient Lucas, 15, his mum Elda, and Alarico from Bairo Pite Clinic fly in tomorrow afternoon. Ronan, a volunteer who works for our sponsor Macquarie Telecom, will be on hand to give them a warm welcome and a lift to their accommodation, and our volunteer photographer Eric Jong will also be part of the welcoming party. Lucas has his surgery next week at MonashHeart. Stand by for more news and some of Eric's photos!

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More than law - how our friends at Russell Kennedy help us out

Cristina and Erleen from Russell Kennedy

Our friends at Russell Kennedy are more than just a great bunch of legal eagles. They are happy to lend a hand in all sorts of ways - and we have photographic evidence! Here's Cristina Galati (left) and Erleen Egan hard at work folding, envelope stuffing and stamping to get our March newsletter out. Thanks ladies, and thanks RK!

PS: The print editions of our newsletter are also available for download from our website here . The March edition has a great collection of pics of our former patients, all looking healthy and happy.

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A moving story about old friends

Jaimie and Perry from Toll Remote Logistics

Every now and then people come into your world and they really change your life. That's the case with our great friends at Toll Remote Logistics. Three years ago when we were just getting started Toll Remote Logistics was the first company to get behind us. They were in Timor-Leste at the time providing logistical support for the Australian Defence Forces stationed there. Initially with the approval of the ADF Toll Remote Logistics flew our patients to Australia using surplus seats on their regular Darwin-Dili Army flights. When the ADF went home last year, Toll Remote Logistics reduced its operations in Timor-Leste to a small presence, and we feared it would be the end of a beautiful friendship. But Toll has stood by us, and they now pay for commercial flights for our patients. We are so immensely grateful, and particularly to regional manager defence and government Perry Singh, our biggest advocate, and the frighteningly efficient Jaimie Reisima, who takes care of all of our travel bookings.

 

PS: Our next patient Lucas, his mum Elda and Alarico from Bairo Pite Clinic arrive next Wednesday. Thanks Toll Remote Logistics.

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Design gurus give us a new poster girl

Marta postcard

For the last three years Melbourne design studio Struck&Spink has been a quiet but influential presence behind the success of East Timor Hearts Fund. The team there designed our branding three years ago and has been there for us ever since, helping us out pro bono whenever we've needed design work. Here's some more of their excellent work, a great new postcard featuring Marta, who is now fighting fit after a heart valve procedure at MonashHeart late last year. The postcard is coming soon to our cafe partners so please watch out for it! A big thanks again to all at Struck&Spink. We are very grateful to you.

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Meet our design gurus, Struck&Spink

We've given our website a little mini makeover - with thanks to the generous and gifted team at Struck & Spink. We're excited to see the "flying hearts" winging their way across our web banner, and hope you like it too.
Alison, Peter, Emma, Bonnie and all of the gang at Struck & Spink are quiet heroes to us. They designed our extremely funky branding when we were just a wee baby organisation three years ago, and since then have done no end of fantastic work, including designing our postcard series, posters and our cafe partner coffee loyalty card. We couldn't love Struck & Spink more, and hope you will keep their kindness and talent in mind if you ever find yourself in need of graphic design services. You can find out more abouit Struck&Spink here www.struckandspink.com.au/

 

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How one operation saves two lives. Happy International Women's Day!

Happy International Women's Day! Today it's worth reminding ourselves why women and girls are such a focus of our work. Many of our patients have rheumatic heart disease, damaged heart valves caused by this childhood infection. For women, the risks are dire. If they become pregnant women with advanced, untreated heart disease often die in labour. Tragically, usually the baby is lost also. We assist every patient we can, but we find it especially satisfying to provide heart surgery for the many young Timorese women of childbearing age, because we know we often save two lives.
You can help. This International Women's Day make a tax deductible donation to support our work http://www.givenow.com.au/easttimorhearts

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