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A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

Cardiac Alliance has been working in Tobruk, Libya and Kharkiv, Ukraine over the last few weeks and we have operated on 43 children in these 2 cities.

Both Libya and Ukraine are experiencing uncertainty and conflict that many of us will struggle to imagine. However, it is not so hard to imagine the heartache that a parent feels when they have a sick child. These mothers and many like them in developing nations all have a child with a congenital heart defect and are faced with the real possibility that their child will never receive surgery.

Sad baby Libya

The Novick Cardiac Alliance strives to help these parents and so, despite the conflicts, we have been working in these countries to provide much needed surgery and care to children.Though we feel a sense of satisfaction in being able to help these children we also feel a sense of urgency and disappointment-  Because for every child that receives surgery there are many many more that will not.

Small baby and nurse

The sad truth is that some children will die waiting. We all have the power to change a life together and give a family a brighter future.

Donate your time and expertise by volunteering with us  or give today and save a life.


Meet ‘Inoperable Marwa’

Meet ‘Inoperable Marwa’

As an infant, they heard a heart murmur.

But, after being examined at a local Libyan hospital, they cleared Marwa, saying she was perfectly healthy. But Marwa’s mother was never convinced.

With the eyes of a mother, she noticed how breathless Marwa became after short walks, how she turned blue when exercising. The family went in for another exam and found Marwa had a large VSD.

But then began the real challenge: finding surgery in a war-torn country after years of lost time.

The family looked abroad for surgery options, but as soon as doctors saw her pulmonary hypertension, they wouldn’t touch Marwa. Fellow Libyans in Tripoli refused, Egyptians refused, Jordanians refused. All said she was inoperable.

When they presented her to us, they thought she was hopeless, but they couldn’t stop trying.

Back in 2012, Marwa became the first double flap valve patch repair done in Libya when Dr. Novick and his team visited Benghazi. She did extremely well, has grown, and her follow up has been “perfectly unremarkable” according to Dr. Novick.

Marwa at her recent check up in Tobruk, Libya
This week, we followed up with Marwa and got to hear how she’s doing (not to mention the sweets her mom made for us!). Her mother still pays close attention and is delighted at the change in her daughter.

This the kind of impact we’re having in Libya, one child at a time! February is Heart Month—help us continue breaking new ground and saving children like Marwa by making a donation here.

Marwa at her recent check up in Tobruk, Libya

Mission: Complete! Read the Latest from Libya

Mission: Complete! Read the Latest from Libya

Our first mission to the city of Tobruk, Libya was a huge success!

As Dr. Novick put it: “It wasn’t a particularly difficult or eventful trip…but the locals REALLY appreciated us being there.”

After 16 successful cases, closing ceremonies involved a lot of hugs, cake, selfies, and hand shakes. Thanks to all of our donors, volunteers, staff, and supporters who helped make it possible—we’re grateful for all of you!

Here’s a quick update from Dr. Novick and the team, now en route home:

We’re leaving Libya today after providing the final two operations on Thursday, both extubated by 8 p.m., The Benghazi Medical Center team is staying behind for a few days to get all the children discharged from the hospital. We all flew to Al Bayda, then from there we spread out across the globe to our homes on Saturday. We spent a few hours with the Libyan Minister of Health discussing the needs at Tobruk Hospital so it is better prepared for our next trip. The Kharkiv team finishes up today as well and will head home tomorrow. Next up, Honduras and Macedonia starting end of next week. I will be traveling to Tehran, Iran and Tashkent, Uzbekistan over the next month to review sites for future assistance, wish me luck. —Dr No

A few more photos from the trip:

Sergey looking out the helicopter window
Nurse Christine with local Libyans in the ICU
A baby being prepped in the OR
Cute baby in the children's ward
Dr. Novick standing next to a patient in the step down unit
Dr. Naima from Benghazi Medical Center kissing one of the patients
Karen, an ICU nurse, with the first case of the trip
The first case of the mission in the ICU, sleeping

Patient Story – Liza from Ukraine

Patient Story – Liza from Ukraine

Baby Liza after surgeryAmid the crisis in Ukraine, our team continues to save little hearts.

Meet Liza Yaroshenco. She is a lucky 3-month-old baby girl who is from Kharkiv, Ukraine.

When Liza was 6 weeks old, a doctor told her mother, Tonya, that Liza had a heart murmur. This doctor said the murmur would go away by the time Liza was 3 years old, but her mother knew something wasn’t right and began the search for a new doctor for a second opinion.

Because of her mother’s dedication, Liza found herself at the Kharkiv Center for Cardiac Surgery. Here she had a Catheterization procedure by Dr. Igor Polivenok and was told her baby desperately needed heart surgery to survive.

Baby Liza and mother after surgeryTonya took Liza home to wait for the Cardiac Alliance team to arrive in February. On February 4th, Liza received heart surgery performed by Kharkiv pediatric cardiac surgeon Dr. Olga Buchneva, alongside Cardiac Alliance surgeon Dr. Marcelo Cardarelli.

Thanks to this collaboration and her mother’s love, Liza is now home with a happy heart.

Baby Liza after her operation

At Novick Cardiac Alliance we want to be able to care for more children like baby Liza and to make sure that all mothers know that no matter where they live their children can get the specialist care they need to live a happy and healthy life.

Help us to make this possible by Donating today or Volunteer your time and expertise to look after these children the way they deserve.

A Week Full of Firsts

Dr. Novick and Dr. Oakley, the Libyan Ministor of Health in the operating room
There’s something thrilling about a first-ever!

And when your hospital has never performed open heart surgery, you get a lot of firsts. This week, Cardiac Alliance is in the Libyan town of Tobruk, and the locals are all smiles at how much they’ve accomplished alongside our team in just a few days: a first-of-its-kind medical training mission in their city, the first open heart surgery in their city (adult or pediatric), and, most importantly, the first time they’ve been able to provide for their own children locally, without having to send them away.

The Tobruk and Benghazi team pose for a picture
Even after hundreds of trips and serving thousands of children, launching a new program never gets old! Come back over the next few days to see more excitement from Libya, and be sure to follow us on Facebook for real-time updates from around the world.

The Cardiac Alliance team members in Tobruk, Libya
The Cardiac Alliance team members in Tobruk, Libya
The Cardiac Alliance team members in Tobruk, Libya
The Cardiac Alliance team members in Tobruk, Libya

Join us in Heart Awareness Month

Join us in Heart Awareness Month

Dear Friend,

February is Heart Awareness Month and February 7th through Valentine’s Day is Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week.

The birth of a new baby is a joyous and challenging event and so is the birth of a new organization to help children with heart defects. We are asking for your help so we can help children around the world with heart disease. The ability to provide life-saving cardiac surgery to the children of developing countries, in their own country, is priceless. The stress of major heart surgery on the child and the family is greatly reduced when they are surrounded by those who can support them, speak their language, and practice their customs. While helpful to the child and family, providing surgery locally also gives us the opportunity to educate the local health care professionals in the care of their own children. Our ultimate goal in this strategy is to make these local programs self -sufficient. MRFNizhny
This year we plan to work in 12 countries but there are many more countries that need our help.

Our intention with this appeal to you is to operate on an additional 25 children between the beginning of March and end of May. The average cost of providing life-saving surgery to each child is $2,000 and so we would like to raise a total of $ 50,000 this month. Any size donation will help us to purchase the medications, supplies and airline tickets needed to have our team give a child a future. We hope you will join our team and help us give these desperate children a chance for a bright future, without this chance they don’t have one. Smiling baby post op
Visit our donation page to make your valuable donation of any amount. See our story and where we where we are helping in the world.

Sincerely Yours,
Bill Signature