Umran Shortly After Birth
We Meet for the First Time
Umran’s story all started with a call from the Raparin Children’s Hospital requesting assistance for a newborn baby diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition. Being all too familiar with the potential urgency of the situation, we decided to go and meet him that same night. When we arrived, we were led to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit where an intensive care nurse directed us to meet little Umran. He was being attended to by hospital staff as well as members of his family.
As we approached, we greeted a small group of family members who had gathered around. Introducing ourselves, they called for Umran’s father, who quickly ran towards us to meet us. With tears in his eyes, he recounted the loss of his previous son to the same heart condition. It was a story of hope turning to despair in a government hospital’s operating room, where his son entered the operating room walking and came out dead. Umran’s diagnosis, mirroring his brother’s, had clearly cast a shadow of fear and grief over the family.
Umran with his Mother on Route to the Clinic
The Journey for a Cure
We spoke to the family, encouraging them not to lose hope and coordinated an early morning transfer to another facility for further evaluation by Dr. Aso and his team. Despite his critical state, characterized by low oxygen levels and difficulty breathing, Umran safely arrived at the children’s hospital in Sulaymaniyah, where his condition was thoroughly assessed. He was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a critical condition that requires advanced open heart surgery. A short hospitalization followed, allowing for the administration of necessary medications to keep him stabile.
Having the full picture of what he needed to move forward, we began searching for a surgery center and advocated for funding. As time passed, Love Them All continued to provide regular trips to the clinic, facilitating check-ups for Umran and other children with similar needs. These trips were extensive, involving long hours of travel by bus and coordination at the clinic. Those days were long, the road stretched endlessly, but because each child’s heart received the care it so desperately needed, it was well worth the trip.
Umran Travels by Ambulance to Hospital
A Turn for the Worse
As the months went by, we continued to press on, but alarming news from Talar, a volunteer nurse working closely with Umran, noticed a significant decline in Umran’s health. His condition, which appeared to be worsening each day, was marked by tet spells and increased breathing difficulties. He was admitted to hospital several times where adjustment in his medication were made, an indication that time was running short. Umran needed surgery soon!
Regular medical visits continued as we intensified our search for ways to perform and fund the surgery. Umran’s family, already financially burdened, could not afford the expense. His father used an old pickup truck to work as a vendor, driving around the city, trying to sell odds and ends.
Tragic Family News
During one trip to the clinic, we were surprised to see that Umran arrived accompanied by his aunt and uncle instead of his mother and father. They informed us of his mother’s critical health condition following a brain cancer diagnosis and unsuccessful surgery. This unbelievable tragedy added even more emotional and financial strain to the family’s situation.
Umran’s Father and Umran Waiting for a Pre Surgery CT Scan
The Surgery: A Collaborative Effort
As plans for Love Them All’s first ever medical mission finally materialized, we were trilled with the opportunity to offer surgery to Umran which was supported by donations from our network of generous friends. When they accepted we carefully prepared Umran and his family for the big day.
It was a mission that involved a core medical team and 17 foreign nurses who selflessly committed their time and resources. The nurses brought not only their skills but also a dedication to the cause, funding their own travel to assist in the crucial post-surgery period. Despite the complexity of the procedure, including a pre-operative cardiac massage to keep his heart going, the surgery was an amazing success.
Nelly with Umran and his Mother after Surgery
Recovery and Gratefulness
Post-surgery, Umran recovered under the care of our good friend Nelly, an incredibly gifted medical professional and volunteer for Love Them All. She opened her home not only for Umran but also for his family so they could stay close to Dr. Aso until he fully recovered. Nelly was an invaluable support to Love Them All, especially during this mission in her volunteer role as nursing coordinator. Her special role made the mission a success and without her none of it would have been possible!
Umran Enjoys Time at Home with his Family
His Mother’s Request Granted
Amidst these achievements, Umran’s mother’s health prognosis remained poor, bringing a sense of urgency to their time together. Seeing them reunite and watching Umran’s mother hold and spend time with Umran, with a newly repaired heart, was a moment we will never forget. This was all she wanted since the day Umran was born.
Umran is now back home with his family and growing strong, continuing to receive support from Love Them All.
We simply can’t thank you enough for your generosity towards these beautiful babies and children. Because of it, Umran’s story will continue on, representing hope for many others that will come after him.