‘History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.’ Nelson Mandela
This is the phenomenal success story of a 17 year-old resilient Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) survivor, Ikhtiar Afzal, with Pakistan Children’s Heart Foundation (PCHF). At a young age, Ikhtiar was diagnosed with a type of CHD known as Transposition Of The Great Arteries (TGA). The shocking news of Ikhtiar’s disease shattered the lives of his loved ones, especially his family.
TGA is a serious but rare heart defect present at birth, in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed. This condition is also called dextro-transposition of the great arteries. TGA changes the way blood circulates through the body, leaving a shortage of oxygen in blood flowing from the heart to the rest of the body. Without an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood, the body can’t function properly and the patient faces serious complications, or even death, without treatment.
PCHF provides the highest quality of care for children with heart disease, irrespective of their financial means. Each year around 50,000 children are born with CHD in Pakistan and a large majority of these children are unable to get the treatment required due to lack of facilities, personnel and the high costs involved. That is where PCHF steps in.
Ikhtiar’s family came to PCHF from Punjab’s Rajanpur District, with immensely high hopes for their child. Ikhtiar’s father, Muhammad Afzal Lashari, has passed away and his mother, Nusrat Afzal, is a housewife. Family income is drastically low. The recommended procedure to fix Ikhtiar’s TGA was Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection (TAPVC) Repair, in which doctors usually connect the pulmonary veins to the left atrium, close off any abnormal connections between blood vessels and close the atrial septal defect. This is extremely expensive and paying for it is unfathomable for low-income families.
Thankfully, the prayers of Ikhtiar’s family were answered as his surgery was scheduled through a swift, smooth and extremely efficient process, entirely sponsored by PCHF. The surgery was blessedly a success, and after a few days in the hospital under the special care of our brilliant team of healthcare professionals, our CHD warrior was discharged.
PCHF made a real difference in the lives of Ikhtiar and his family. Together, they can now dream of living an amazing life. PCHF, and more importantly, the children with CHD vitally require your support. Legendary Pakistani cricketer, Misbah Ul Haq, has also joined PCHF on the journey to conquering CHD in Pakistan, by helping build Pakistan’s first dedicated, state-of-the-art Children’s Heart Hospital and Research Institute (CHHRI).
You can donate towards children’s heart surgeries or hospital construction at: https://chhri.org.pk/donate-online/donate.php