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Aug 7, 2008

Two brothers get Gift of Life from Rotary

Story PictureThis is a story of two boys, Anthony and Manlee, both born with severe heart defects whose lives were saved by the generosity of the Belize Rotary Club and its partners. Anthony, the first born brought joy to the family but his heart defect took the family on a painful journey and then there is brother Manlee, who was born with a more severe condition. Jose Sanchez has the details.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting
After experiencing the joy of their first born the parents of young Anthony soon learnt that all was not well.

Stephany Tucker, Mother
“Well the first time I get to find out that he was sick I asked the doctor dehn inna di hospital weh happen to ah because when he mi born, he mi di foam through ih mouth. He mi di bring out a lot ah white thing. So di doctor seh nothing happen to ah, ih seh ih just swallow wah lot ah water. So I take him home to my mom. My mom seh like something wrong with he. I seh ma yoh sure and ih seh yes. So I ker ah back dah hospital. Di doctor dehn seh nothing happen to ah. So he start to get blue like when ih turn bout three, four months. Ih start to get blue pan we. We rush ah dah Belize yah and di doctor dehn seh nothing noh happen to ah. So I gone back home and when I got back home ih start to get blue back pan we. We didn’t know Miss Yvette Burks as yet. So a Captain help out we fi know she. We get to find out dat two ah fi he valve mi di leak and he had wah hole inna ih heart to.”

Misses Yvette Burks, director of Rotary’s Gift of Life Program in Belize sought to assist the family by providing transportation and housing for a parent while their child would receive free treatment in the USA.

Yvette Burks, Program Coordinator, Rotary’s Gift of Life
“We have excellent cooperation and participation of pediatricians throughout the country now and even of venereal practitioners. The Gift of Life Programme, through their efforts, has become a larger success because we are able to reach more children because the older of the two boys is testimony to that because once he was identified of exhibiting symptoms of a cardiac problem, they knew exactly what to do and where to go. He was hospitalized several times during the period before he left. He was a very sick baby.”

And while the Gift of Life programme was taking care of one child, Stephany was pregnant with another child who would also be born with a heart problem that was more severe than the first child.

Yvette Burks
“But his brother had another heart condition that was in fact even more serious and I think the doctors mentioned to his mom that even though he was less symptomatic than the older boy, that in fact he would have gotten progressively ill an perhaps not live a very long life. They didn’t think he would have gotten pass the age of maybe six or seven based on the problems of his heart.”

Stephany Tucker
“When he mi di get fi he surgery, he mi di born at di same time to. We neva know if he mi born sick either. Ih neva like show no kind ah sign dat he sick; he noh start to get blue, nothing. Then di doctor weh come through miss Yvette Burks again and dah so we get fi know dat he got heart problems. So I neva know if he mi born sick or nothing cause he use to lively, play, eat good, drink baba good until we get fi find out dat he got wah hole inna ih heart. So di doctor dehn dah Boston dehn do wah good job pan he.”

While Gift for Life pays for housing and expenses for both patients and a family member, hospitals such as MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston and surgeons such as Dr. Jeff Myers offer their expertise for free.

Dr. Jeff Myers, surgeon, MassGeneral
”He’s already shown that this surgery has done him a lot of good. He is out of his heart failure now. He’s able to eat again without being short of breath. He’s getting back pretty quickly to being a normal kid without a heart defect.”

Stephany Tucker
“I feel happy about it that two of them done get over their heart surgery. I feel so good.”

Manley Moody, Father
Well their health now is very, very lively. You see it inna dehn, dehn lively. Before, dehn neva lively. You could ah mi si dat something mi di hold dehn back. Well, dehn could breathe better now so I glad fi know dat dehn healthy now. Nothing deh fi hold dehn back.”

Stephany Tucker
“When two ah dehn use to drop sick, I use to sit down pan my bed and I cry. I drop pan my knees and I ask god fi help me and he answer my prayers. Si two ah dehn get better now. Thanks to Miss Yvette Burks and the Rotary Club.”

The total cost of the medical services as well as travel expenses for both boys is approximately two hundred and fifty thousand U.S. dollars. The funding that Rotary generates depends on fundraisers such as the play “Me an Mi Genie.” Scheduled to be performed throughout the weekend at the Bliss Institute, the play is more than just laughs and a good time. It will support real hearts and give life to deserving children. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

The next two free clinics for Rotary’s Gift of Life are on the twenty-eighth of August at the Karl Heusner Hospital and on the twenty-ninth at the Southern Regional Hospital.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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