AUSTIN, Texas (January 3, 2013) -The HeartGift Foundation, which provides life-saving heart surgery to children from developing countries, is preparing for the arrival of the nonprofit organization's 200th patient.
Courtney, an almost two-year-old girl from Belize, will arrive January 6 in Austin, TX and will undergo life-saving surgery January 14 at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas. Her medical care team will be led by HeartGift physicians, Drs. Stuart Rowe and Kenneth Fox.
"Without surgery Courtney would develop difficulty exercising, then difficulty breathing, and then would ultimately die. But with the help and generosity of HeartGift, Courtney will receive a second chance of living a full life," explained Fox.
Courtney will stay with Reese Ryan, CEO of the Round Rock Express baseball team and son of famed baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan. The Ryan family has been very involved with HeartGift patients in both Austin and the Dallas Fort Worth area, but this is their first time to host a patient in their home. "We appreciate the opportunity to introduce our daughters to families in need from around the world. It will be a blessing for us to be able to open our home and share in this life changing experience for this family" said Ryan.
"When the HeartGift Foundation was incorporated in 2000, it was hard to envision that we could save the lives of 200 children with heart problems," said Dr. John "Chip" Oswalt, co-founder and chairman of HeartGift. "As we approach this milestone, it gives me pause to look back on the 200 precious lives saved. As the years pass we will reach more milestones, enlist many more volunteers, and save many more children-one heartgift at a time."
HeartGift brings children from around the world to the United States for surgery to correct life-threatening heart defects.
Founded in Austin, the HeartGift Foundation has chapters in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and New Orleans. All medical services are provided for free. Patients' families do not pay a penny.
Since its inception, HeartGift has helped children from 28 countries: Belize, Bolivia, Cameroon, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Jamaica, Kenya, the Republic of Kiribati, Kosovo, Liberia, Macedonia, Malawi, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Palestine, the Philippines, Syria and Uganda.
These children come to the states because their home countries lack adequate health care; they leave with repaired hearts and a new sense of hope for the future.
To learn more about HeartGift, visit www.heartgift.org