SAN ANTONIO — A little girl from Uganda is already up and running after having heart surgery here in San Antonio on Monday.
“Komal is about to be 3,” said Evan Perez whose family is providing a place for Komal to stay while she’s in San Antonio for treatment. “She’s coming from Uganda and she just had her heart surgery done on Monday.”
The life-changing procedure means little Komal can grow up healthy and strong.
“I feel good, I’m happy,” said Komal’s mother Fauzie Nanteza.
The open heart surgery was made possible by a non-profit called HeartGift.
“We work with different health partners around the world and doctors that do mission trips and when they come across children that have congenital heart defects and require open heart surgery that they don’t have access in their home country … we fly them in, pair them with host families and fix their hearts,” said HeartGift San Antonio Executive Director Jason Derscheid.
In the San Antonio area alone, HeartGift helped more than 50 children have open heart surgery at University Hospital. The physicians donated their time.
“Any child that is born in America with these defects does get it fixed. If they require surgery … insurance or Medicaid covers this surgery,” said Derscheid. “We’re there to look at the other kids that don’t have access to that that would otherwise never grow to be a fully developed adult.”
Evan Perez’s family is hosting Komal, the little girl’s mother and their translator from Uganda.
“I think it changes both families, you get close to each other and get to know everyone,” said Perez.
Rosaline Tanzia works with Samaritan’s Purse. She met Komal and her mother just a few weeks ago.
“Now they are family.”
Komal along with two other heart patients and their families celebrated their recovery at a San Antonio FC game thanks to Morgan’s Wonderland.
The occasion means the bundles of joy will only get stronger from here.
“Komal has been very energetic but we expect more may be on the appetite but she has been doing good,” said Tanzia.
HeartGift is in need of host families and volunteers. If you can’t give your time they also accept donations to help further their work.