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New lease of life for 33 - Nei Maya Telamarawa (Rabi Island)

FIJI DAILY POST - 25-Sep-2009

IT takes days to recover from an open heart surgery but the bravehearted patients proved - ‘if there is a will there is a way’.

The open heart surgery patients in recovery at Lautoka Hospital were all smiles when Miss Sugar City contestants came for a visit.

Despite having undergone major surgery only days before, the patients were in fine form, some already walking around, laughing, chatting, and eating.

One patient who had received a heart bypass, Ms. Maya Telamarawa of Rabi Island, was so inspired by the visit that the doctors and nurses nominated her “Miss Hospital” and presented her with her own crown and ribbon.

Such is the light-hearted mood in the recovery wards of Lautoka Hospital as these patients are bouncing back and embracing their renewed lease of life.

A total of 33 individuals from all over Fiji have received life-saving valve replacement and pace-maker surgeries thanks to the Friends of Fiji Heart Foundation.

These surgeries, normally only available overseas, might normally cost as much as $20,000 FJD, but thanks to the generous assistance of volunteers and sponsors, all of these patients are receiving expert surgery and care at no cost.

This is the Friends of Fiji Heart Foundation’s fourth trip to Fiji, they have operated on more than 70 of Fiji’s neediest patients.

The mother of 22-year-old patient Susana Tikoisuva of Lau, said that the care they had received at the hospital was wonderful. She couldn’t believe how quickly her daughter was recovering from the surgery on the hole in her heart.

As Foundation spokesman Deepak Singh of Auckland enthused, “This work could not have been done without the support of our sponsors, FIJI Water Foundation, Air Pacific, Air New Zealand, and Rotary.”

FIJI Water Foundation is the tour’s major sponsor, and this is their second year of supporting the Friends of Fiji Heart Foundation medical team.

Mr. Singh described the financial challenges faced by some of the patients.

For some, they would like to have the surgery but cannot afford transport to Lautoka.

One man could not afford bus fare to the hospital from Nadi to be with his daughter during her surgery.

Friends of Fiji Heart Foundation were able to cover these costs so that patients and families can focus on preparation, recovery, and being together.

“We realised how blessed we are and that it is our duty to help,” said Mr. Singh.

FIJI Water Foundation is proud to be the team’s major sponsor, and they are also inviting all of Fiji to help support the costs of these heart surgeries.

Until the end of the year, for every 1.5L bottle of water purchased at participating stores, 5cents will be given to the Friends of Fiji Heart Foundation.

For every 6pack purchased, customers receive a complimentary reusable shopping bag.

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Comment by TOTOIA AMON on October 10, 2009 at 12:38pm
Thanx Stacie 4 the good news. I was trying to get in touch with the Tokamayas mother in Lautoka concerning the operation but thank god I heard the good news from u. anyway a big Koraba to the generous people and organisations out there for giving the lives back to those patients. there is nothing better than that.

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