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Baby’s Life Saved by Free Heart Surgery
Davina Mirembe is dancing with joy. The 20-month-old Ugandan girl feels better now than she ever has in her short life. Much better than she did just two weeks ago, before she had the heart surgery which saved her life. Davina was born with a ventricular septal defect. Her heart was slowly failing. "Eventually, in her teens or 20s, she would have significant limitation, where she wouldn't be able to be very active at all and then eventually, she'd have irreversible damage to her lungs," Sutter pediatric cardiologist Dr. James Hill explained to Fox News. http://fox40.com/2018/06/06/organization-helps-baby-from-uganda-get-to-sacramento-for-heart-surgery/ Thanks to an organization called Samaritan’s Purse, Davina and her mother Sheena Baserma got free airfare for the 9,000-mile journey from Uganda to Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, California, where doctors had agreed to perform the life-saving surgery free of charge. https://www.samaritanspurse.org/ While in Sacramento, Baserma and baby Davina were hosted by Rod and Donna Byrd. The Byrds not only opened their home to mother and child—the Byrds showed their guests some of what life in America was like. Nothing fancy—a day in the park, and trip to a fast-food restaurant—but still, experiences Davina and her mother would never have had otherwise. "It's been a blessing to walk that journey with them,” said Donna Byrd. “Supporting them in the hospital, hosting them in our home, sharing new things with them, but also seeing how Davina has blossomed. She's just come alive like a little flower." "When we came here, Miss Donna and Mr. Rod have been like family to us," Davina's mother, Sheena Baserma, told Fox. "They've taken us like their own children. We eat together, we dine together." Basrema said all that in Uganad—she doesn’t speak English. Her words were translated by Viola Lavoga, a woman who knew quite what Davina was going through. Lavoga had the same operation in 2004, also courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse. "In 2004, I had a heart defect just like Davina. And I had surgery through Children's Heart Project of Samaritan's Purse," Baserma said. "It gives me so much joy to see that another child has been helped just like I was helped." Of course, much of this is lost on Davina. All Davina knows is that she isn’t sick for the first time in her life. "She says now she feels free. The burden has been lifted," Baserma said. "She feels happy and she's looking forward to the future."