A simple child,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?
William Wordsworth


Przha Omer Amin, a beautiful 4 year old girl from Iraq sat in her bed in the Pediatric Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in  Rawalpindi, asking for tea.  Przha had undergone successful repair of her congenital heart defect just hours before by a combined team of Pakistani and American doctors. She was happy, her father was happy, and the medical team was happy.  What could be simpler?  The story is quite complicated, however, and required the collaboration of a number of individuals around the world.

Since the war began in Iraq, children with heart disease have not been able to receive surgical treatment in Iraq .  A number of agencies and humanitarian groups around the world have helped to get these children out of Iraq for surgical repair.  The International Children's Heart Foundation was contacted and asked if we could help.  Rather than flying these children halfway around the world for surgery in the West, why not try to find a culturally similar country close by where the surgery could be performed?  Dr. William Novick, Medical Director of the ICHF, thought that perhaps this would be a better idea.  He approached the Surgeon General of Pakistan with the idea last September.  Together they spoke with the Vice Chief of Army Staff who thought it was possible and, in turn, spoke to the President of Pakistan.  President Musharraf approved the project in early December.

Once approval was received, a host of individuals worked to get Przha and her father to Islamabad while the ICHF team was in Pakistan.  Przha arrived on Monday morning.  Her diagnosis was confirmed; she had tetralogy of Fallot.  On Tuesday morning she underwent a complete repair by a combined team of Pakistani and American doctors led by Dr. Novick.  Surgery was uneventful.  She was in the ICU just after noon and was taken off the ventilator at 3 p.m.  Her first request was for tea!   Przha has done well and will be transferred to the ward tomorrow morning.

Przha was lucky.  Thousands of Iraqi and Afghani children desperately need surgical repair of their congenital heart defects but do not have access to treatment in their own countries.  The ICHF makes four trips per year to Pakistan.  The Government of Pakistan has agreed to allow up to 10 children from Iraq to come to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology during each of these visits.  Dr. Novick has asked the Surgeon General of Pakistan to formally request a similar program for the children of Afthanistan.

But funding is an issue.  The Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology cannot provide surgical repairs for free to all the children.  Additionally, the children and their accompanying parents need airline tickets to get to Pakistan.  Hopefully the sources will be found which will allow these children a chance at a future.

If you would like to help, please click on the donation button on the right side of this page, or email

In Memory Of
Dale Howard Henderson
June 1, 1970 - September 6, 2006

In light of his big heart and love for children, Dale's family selected the International Children's Heart Foundation for donations in lieu of flowers.  We would like to extend our sympathy to Dale's family and friends during this difficult time.  Thanks to all who have donated in Dale's memory.  For more information about Dale, please go to his memorial website at www.virtual-memorials.com.

From the Heart

On October 31, Sam Elkins turned 10 years old.  Instead of birthday presents, he asked his family and friends to make donations to the International Children's Heart Foundation.
Sam knows how fortunate he is to be living in the USA where we have some of the best healthcare in the world.  You see, Sam was born with a heart defect called pulmonary atresia.  He was able to get a lifesaving operation right away.  Thanks to Sam's generous heart, his family and friends donated over $500 to help needy children with congenital heart defects.










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