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Success! Neymarah from Haiti raised $1,500 for life-saving heart surgery.

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Neymarah's treatment was fully funded on December 1, 2015.

Photo of Neymarah post-operation

January 4, 2016

Neymarah received life-saving heart surgery.

“During surgery, patches were used to close the holes between the chambers of Neymarah’s heart, and blood now flows through her heart normally,” shares our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance. “She should be able to lead a normal life with no further cardiac complications.”

Neymarah’s mother tells us, “I am so happy to see Neymarah healthy and full of energy!”

"During surgery, patches were used to close the holes between the chambers of Neymarah's heart, and blood now flows through her heart normal...

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November 16, 2015

Three-year-old Neymarah lives in Haiti with her mother, who works as a tailor, and her grandmother. She likes to help her mother prepare the fabric for the school uniforms that she makes.

Our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), tells us, “Neymarah was born with a condition called complete atrioventricular canal defect, in which blood mixes between all four chambers of the heart without fully obtaining oxygen. This leaves her weak and out of breath and would eventually be fatal.”

Neymarah needs surgery to create two functioning valves between the upper and lower chambers on both sides of the heart and to place patches over the existing defects (holes). “Following surgery,” says HCA, “Neymarah should have normal circulation restored to her heart. She should not need further surgery in the future.”

For $1500, HCA will provide the overseas preparation and transportation required for Neymarah’s surgery. MECENAT is donating $5000 to cover the remaining treatment costs.

Neymarah is excited to start preschool after surgery. Her mother shares, “I want Neymarah to be able to walk to and from school like the other children.”

Three-year-old Neymarah lives in Haiti with her mother, who works as a tailor, and her grandmother. She likes to help her mother prepare the...

Read more

Neymarah's Timeline

  • November 16, 2015

    Neymarah was submitted by Owen Robinson, Executive Director at Haiti Cardiac Alliance.

  • November 20, 2015

    Neymarah received treatment at University Hospital of Martinique in Martinique. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • November 27, 2015

    Neymarah's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • December 1, 2015

    Neymarah's treatment was fully funded.

  • January 4, 2016

    Neymarah's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Overseas Prep and Transportation
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

When a hole exists in the heart, a physician can hear a buzzing noise, or murmur, in the child's chest as blood passes through the hole at high velocity. The child's parents might notice that their son or daughter cannot keep up with other children in daily activities. In severe cases, the lack of oxygen in the bloodstream can lead to dramatic symptoms, such as blue lips and tongue, clubbed fingers and toes, and heart failure. The patients treated by Haiti Cardiac Alliance tend to fall into two categories. They are either born with some type of hole or defect in the heart, or they develop valve disease as a result of an untreated strep throat infection (rheumatic fever). Patients with rheumatic valve disease experience swelling of the abdomen and extremities, as the heart tries to circulate blood through the body despite the valve's dysfunction.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

Virtually all of the conditions treated at Haiti Cardiac Alliance will eventually lead to death without surgery, the majority of them within one to two years. In the meantime, patients experience heart failure as their hearts struggle to compensate for the presence of leaks or other defects. In most conditions, the heart becomes fatigued, limiting the child's ability to be active, go to school, and participate in daily life.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

Families in Haiti often have complex cultural mechanisms for understanding cardiac illnesses and their causes, sometimes involving voudou or other religious belief systems. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of Haitian families in our medical partner's program also engage with the medical explanations and treatment of these conditions. Parents are willing and cooperative participants in their child's treatment.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

The patient is first referred to our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), by a pediatrician or another medical practitioner who detects symptoms that might be cardiac in nature. HCA staff then perform an echocardiogram to diagnose the cardiac condition. If surgery is required, the child joins a triaged waitlist to be placed for surgery with partner hospitals. It can sometimes take 6-12 months to move through this waitlist. During this period, HCA provides periodic cardiac checkups, changing the patient's triage position as appropriate. The child and his/her guardian then travel to the hospital with an HCA social worker. Typically, the child spends 4-5 days in or near the hospital prior to surgery for testing and examinations. After surgery, he or she spends several more days as an inpatient prior to being discharged. When the child is strong enough to travel, usually after several more weeks, he/she returns home to Haiti. HCA provides regular cardiac checkups for at least five years postoperatively before the final discharge from their program.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

These treatments are almost always life-saving in nature. These cardiac conditions are not survivable over the long-term without surgery. Within weeks after surgery, the patient should notice a difference in energy level. Many patients also undergo a growth spurt and/or gain significant weight after a surgery.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

The risk of death during or shortly after an open-heart surgical procedure is about 3%. Other risks, though rare, include stroke and post-operative infection. In a small percentage of cases, the material used to patch the hole "blows," and a follow-up surgery is necessary to re-patch the defect.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

Patients come to Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA) from the entirety of Haiti. This can involve three days of travel in buses, pickup trucks, or even on horseback. There is no cardiac surgery of any kind available in Haiti outside of the HCA treatment network.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

In general, patients are treated with medications to prevent heart failure until they are ready to travel. Patients may also seek care from traditional healers, who may use liquids and powders derived from local plants and roots.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.


Benedister is a 45-year-old single mother and small-scale farmer from Kenya. She plants maize and millet for her family's consumption and for sale. Benedister has seven children between 11 and 23 years old. When she is done with her farm work, Benedister always looks for casual jobs in order to earn extra wages. She is very hardworking, as she is her family’s sole breadwinner. One day, while walking around her compound, Benedister fell and injured her right lower limb. She was unable to walk, so she was carried by some of her relatives to the hospital. Her pain was so intense that she was given some pain medication, then sent for an x-ray. The x-ray revealed that she had a bimalleolar fracture with a joint dislocation, which means that in addition to a bone being broken, the ligaments on the inside of her ankle were injured as well. She was treated, and then her ankle was immobilized with a bulky jones splint. She is not able to walk on her own and is in a lot of pain. Fortunately, surgeons at our medical partner can help. On February 7th, Benedister will undergo a fracture repair procedure, called an open reduction and internal fixation. Afterward, she will be able to walk easily again. Now, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,145 to fund this procedure. Benedister says, “It’s really sad that I cannot walk without support. My children look up to me for all their needs and here I am now with a broken leg and cannot offer any help to them. Please help me get my bones fixed so that I will be able to work and live normally as before.”

0% funded

$1,145to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.