Gaza Children's Heart Surgery

Gaza Children
Paid in full

Alma and Yazan

Posted on Thu, 02/23/2017 - 21:13 by Alexa Bigl

Alma was born two months ago in Gaza and has been hospitalized since her birth. The doctors in Gaza reported she suffers from severe aortic stenosis. We transferred her to Wolfson Medical Center today via ambulance, where she and her grandmother arrived safely around 1:30 this afternoon. After arrival, she immediately went to the ICU to ensure she was stable. We are happy to report she is doing well. She is having no problems with her oxygen saturation and does not require supplemental oxygen.

The staff at Wolfson said it may be possible for Alma's heart to be healed via medications, without surgical intervention, and have begun her on a special medication regiment. What an amazing word of hope for Alma's family! We are so thankful for the hand of the Lord in getting Alma here, and we look forward to seeing how Alma's heart will be healed. 

In other news, Wolfson called me to let us know sweet Yazan can return home. After an extended time with a mysterious fever, Yazan is well again. His heart looks great and his fever has been gone for a few days. He and his lovely grandmother returned to Gaza to be reunited with their whole family, and we are looking forward to seeing them again in the future when they return to Wolfson for check-ups. Please join us in keeping this cute little boy and his family in our prayers. 

Gaza Emergency Baby

Posted on Tue, 02/21/2017 - 21:49 by Joseph Carter

Yesterday an ambulance arrived from Gaza carrying little Joud and his grandma. He was born only 7 days ago. He has a coarctation of the aorta, meaning the main blood vessel is very narrow at one point. Because of how narrow the aorta is, Joud needs to maintain a special "hole" to bypass the narrowed area until he has a surgical repair. He was born with this hole, and it is being kept open by a special medication called prostaglandin. I was only able to see a glimpse of him in the incubator before the medical workers brought him into the ICU. Please pray for Joud and his family who are nervously waiting at home to find out what happens with their precious son.

Yazan: A Boy with Bright Eyes

Posted on Mon, 02/13/2017 - 22:23 by Alexa Bigl

Today, I was in the secondary ICU visiting another family when I saw precious Yazan across the room. I remembered him and his grandmother had come last Tuesday with the Gaza clinic team. I had helped them up to the echo department where they learned they would be admitted in the hospital for Yazan to receive his surgery. The next day, Wednesday the 8th, Yazan went in the operating room for his heart repair. Everything went well and Yazan is recovering. He is still in the secondary ICU because he has a fever. The tests and cultures all look good with no indications the fever is caused by an infection, praise God.


The nurses in the unit saw I knew the family and asked me to help child and grandmother go outside for a time. We walked around the parking lot enjoying the sunshine; Yazan had not been outside for a week. At first he cried with the sun in his eyes but he soon quieted down and within a couple minutes was smiling and even laughing.
After our walk, we sat in the garden area outside of the children's ward. Yazan sat on my lap for a time, listened to his mom's voice over the phone, and played with his rattle. This little boy's precious smile and bright eyes will be a memory I will happily look back on. May God bless the rest of his recovery and continue to strengthen his grandmother as she is by his side hour by hour, day by day until he is ready to return home to Gaza. 

Thankful to Love These People

Posted on Thu, 02/09/2017 - 20:59 by Joseph Carter

At 8:15 in the morning, we drove one of the vans to the Gaza border to pick up families for the clinic. There were 8 children accompanied by either a mother or grandmother. This is a chance for these children to receive medical treatment for their heart conditions in a high-quality hospital.

I enjoyed taking a few pictures of them while the mothers tried to pose their children - most of the children didn't want anything to do with it. One little girl named Salma was a little bit older than the others and I got a chance to spend some time playing with her.

While I wish I could understand the Arabic that she was speaking, we still had a joyful time laughing and smiling while her grandmother occasionally inserted a timely chuckle.

Roaa in the peach hoodie, Wessam behind her, and Yazan sitting on the floor

The other 7 children were younger and in another part of the hospital by the time I was able to play with them. There was Roaa, Habiba, Houda, Yazan, Hassan, and Salah - all beautiful babies under 2 years old. There was also Wessam who is nearly 4 years old. The doctors decided that 4 of the children needed to stay, 2 of them for cardiac catheterization. We were able to send 4 of the children back home to Gaza with their family members.

Little Yazan sitting on the floor

Each time I was able to hold one of the babies I could only wonder what they were thinking. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to love these people. While I remember their faces and their expressions I can only hope that one day when they are old enough, they will have a chance to hear and understand the ultimate form of true love from our Heavenly Father.


Ritaj Returns to Gaza - And Other Blessings

Posted on Tue, 01/31/2017 - 04:43 by Ruth Zellweger

Today was a very special day at Wolfson hospital as four children were discharged to their homes in Gaza. Among them were tiny babies Ahmad and Anas, who both had urgently underwent surgery less than two weeks ago. Both babies were accompanied by their grandmothers.

Another girl was beautiful Lana, who had come to the hospital with her mother. Both were eager to leave the hospital as soon as possible.

The picture was completed by my special friend Ritaj. The day had finally come that she and her mother were allowed to return home to their family. Ritaj's joy was obvious, as was the relief of her mother. Together they had overcome so many difficult times and obstacles - but also climbed mountains, and were rewarded for their endurance.

We praise God for His faithfulness to these precious families. What a blessing to be part of their journey towards a healed heart. 

Mohammed, Jod, Lana

Posted on Wed, 01/25/2017 - 19:51 by Paul Gerstmann

Today Alexa and I made our way to Gaza to pick up three families. The childrens' names are Mohammed, Jod and Lana. Everyone was waiting at the stop upon our arrival, and the trip down to Wolfson hospital went well. There were many Arabic speaking families in the waiting room, allowing for cordial greetings and talk among the families.

Lana did not take too well to the T.B. test, and she could be heard crying all the way down the hall. But with the fine care of the nurses she came out of the room smiling. Lana was admitted for surgery and both Mohammad and Jod got a "thumbs-up" on their check-ups. Jod will need to come back in six months for another check-up.

The families that returned back to Gaza were very thankful for the ride and we bade them farewell. God be praised for his continual care in our lives and the families we have the privilege to serve. 

Baby Anas Has Surgery

Posted on Mon, 01/23/2017 - 21:38 by Moshe Mali

We begun the day driving to the hospital, with two of our families. At the hospital I went to meet a family from Gaza waiting in front of the ICU. The grandmother was sitting there, and she was glad to see us.

She explained that Anas was already in surgery. She said, they came from Gaza yesterday and during the drive the baby was crying and his whole face turned blue. So they connected him to oxygen and then took him to Wolfson through 3 ambulances: one from Gaza, one from the Palestinian Authority, and one from Israel. They arrived in Israel yesterday afternoon and have been here throughout the whole night. 

Anas' grandma was really upset and prayed for him, hoping for good​. It was interesting to see that after the exhausting night and the surgery she was still smiling, explaining everything to us and even gave us toffee. Anas was in surgery from 8:00 until 11:30. The surgery was successful, but he will need another two surgeries in the next 6 months. After a few hours we parted and she thanked us and blessed us with gratitude. 

Please keep Anas and his family in your prayers! They still have a long road to go. 

Bringing Precious Lives from Gaza

Posted on Fri, 01/20/2017 - 04:14 by Mattias Hojlund

Tuesday morning Suhail and I went in each our van to the Erez crossing to pick up 6 kids from Gaza with each their guardian. We filled the vans and headed for Wolfson. We were only supposed to pick up 5 kids, but Maria Gassan got her permission just in time to make it to Wolfson. The mothers in the van were very thankful and said shukran with a smile from the back seat. 

At Wolfson all the kids went through the standard procedures and echo examinations. With such a big group, the families were good at helping each other and making the best out of all the waiting time.

Two of the kids, Judy and Omar, needed some further examination so they'll have Caths for the doctors to learn more about the condition of their heart. Judy will have her cath already today (Tuesday) and will be discharged and ready to go home on Thursday. Omar will have to wait till Monday for his cath. 

All the Gaza families are in the same room, and they're enjoying each other's company and sharing food and drinks. 

In the afternoon on Tuesday, I brought 3 of the kids back to Gaza again. They were all very thankful and waved as I left the border crossing. Join us in praying for the kids we bring up every week. For their hearts and for their life in Gaza. And pray for wisdom for the doctors to decide which procedure they should follow. We're grateful that we can be a part of what God is doing in this region. 


Visible Improvements

Posted on Tue, 01/03/2017 - 22:57 by Ruth Zellweger

Our precious Ritaj has found her way into many of our hearts, as we see her regularly during our hospital visits. And with each passing day and week we can see how this special girl is regaining her strength. She is moving both of her hands now, and with each day is doing better. She is also a lot more at peace , and - encouraged by her mother - blows kisses to us. 

Ritaj has one of the most beautiful smiles, which often encourage me at times when I feel stressed. I am so thankful for the excellent care of the doctors and nurses at Wolfson hospital, and for her dedicated mother. 

This evening Ritaj and her mother made a video call with Ritaj's grandmother, who had been with her at the time of the heart surgery. It was a very special moment to see their joyful faces, delighting in each others company. Even though not near physically, they were close in heart. 

God has not forgotten the people of Gaza, and He is allowing us to join in a beautiful ministry to these precious children. Thank you for praying with us for complete healing for Ritaj and others. 

Update on Ritaj and Mahmad

Posted on Thu, 12/22/2016 - 00:12 by Sue Ingersoll
Ritaj and her mother were interacting today with smiles and calmness.
The doctor checked her arms and said there was some improvement - we are grateful for this news. Her mom said that Ritaj is a momma's girl. They both await a reunion at some point with Ritaj's four brothers and dad. I told her mother that people around the world are praying for Ritaj. Please continue! Your prayers are so appreciated. 
Mahmad's 6 week stay at Wolfson is completed, and he arrived safely to Gaza today. His father was then to drive him to the European hospital in Gaza as Mahmad still has some feeding issues. We rejoice that connections were made so this baby boy could return to Gaza. May the Lord bless him all of his days.