My first meeting with Khoa

My first meeting with Khoa

My first meeting with Khoa

The first time I have seen Khoa, she did not know yet, but in that boring afternoon her life would have changed.

In the photo Giulia with Khoa’s mother, dressed to go into intensive care

The first time I have seen Khoa she was all intent in convincing her mother to leave in her hand the mobile phone. The ambulatory was full of children waiting their turn to be visited by the cardiologist of our team. Khoa did not know yet, but in that boring afternoon “ to the doctor” her life would have changed.

In the great part of the cases, to be born with heart malformation means growing up with limitations: to run, play, concentrate can be very tiring, but children do not know and they run until they are breathless. And Khoa was running: up and down the corridors or from one bed to the other to draw the attention of the other children and play together. She was one of the smallest children but stubborn and perceptive. Whenever she saw me coming with the bag of balloons, she was running toward me and taking them in handfuls, escorting me to her friends to make sure that I would give them to all, and if she could, she would also have inflated them one by one!

Her mother, instead, was aware of the great opportunity represented by that visit and to know that her child would have a heart operation was for her a mixture of relief and anxiety.

The diagnosis of little Khoa arrived soon, when she was very little, but it was necessary for her to grow up a little bit in order to be operated. Khoa was growing up and the illness was more and more evident in her breathing panting too often. And then the telephone call from the hospital convoked the child for a new visit; perhaps it is the right time, her mother was thinking.

In the hospital time expands, becomes a dense blurred bubble of thoughts and then, not to get lost, one cling to the beautiful ones. So during the hours of waiting, while Khoa’ operation was in progress, her mother told me about her family, showing the photos of her parents, the wedding of one of the sisters, the birthday party of one of Khoa’s cousins…She was certainly missing them, on that time suspended, but the trip from their village was long and expensive and so mother and child arrived alone at the hospital….

Finally somebody is going out of the operating room, a smile, a hug…the tension melts: everything has gone well! After a while Khoa is brought into intensive care. She sleeps, but her mom is close by, she caresses and waits.

Khoa will open her eyes, still a little confused, and will look for the eyes of her mother. This the moment, more than any others, I believe that sums up the meaning of all the work of our volunteer doctors: give back life for a better life. This is also the aim and the essence of Children’s Heart: to guarantee access to health care to children like Khoa, who are waiting for “THE” visit which could change the course of their life.

Giulia Albano

Look at the video telling the story of Khoa:

Every year in the world are born one million children like Khoa, with serious congenital heart malformations. 800.000 are born in the poorest countries where they do not have access to timely medical and surgical care. Many of them will not reach the first year of life if we do not do anything.

The volunteer doctors of Mission Bambini are operating in various areas of the world to save thousands of children.