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20 Years of Hope: Jackie

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Teenage Jackie had been suffering from a heart defect her entire life. She had been diagnosed with a large ASD (atrial septal defect), a hole in her heart that should have been repaired when she was much younger. Because their parents were not able to care for them, Jackie and a sister were living with an older brother. These young people were very poor and had no way to pay for the surgery that Jackie desperately needed.

Ugandan girl waiting for heart surgery wearing a gray and black T-shirt

Thankfully, a cardiologist at the Uganda Heart Institute brought Jackie to the attention of our Uganda team, and we were able to step in and arrange for surgery. This poor girl had very little energy and difficulty breathing, and we were extremely concerned when we saw photos of her in the hospital. She was obviously a very sick young lady.

Young girl in a green T-shirt lying in a hospital bed with pink sheets

Unfortunately, just as Jackie was ready to be admitted for her surgery, a country-wide COVID lockdown wreaked havoc with our plans. When she was finally able to be admitted several months later, Jackie was showing frightening signs of worsening heart failure.

Surgeons warned us that her heart surgery would be risky as so much time had passed and she was so terribly ill. But everyone wanted to give Jackie her chance to live, so we prayed that she would come through the operation and finally get to live a normal life.

We all breathed a collective sigh of relief when we were told that she was doing amazingly well following surgery. It was so wonderful to see Jackie with a smile on her face at last!

Girl with a blanket over her shoulders holding a pink water pitcher in a Ugandan hospital

Sadly, that smile didn’t last for long. Eighteen days after surgery, Jackie took a serious turn for the worse while she was recovering in the hospital. She went into severe respiratory distress and had to be returned to the ICU and placed on a ventilator to help her breathe. Doctors told us that she was in need of a miracle.

Thankfully, miracles DO happen from time to time. Jackie rallied and was eventually able to be weaned from the ventilator and supplemental oxygen. And her brilliant smile returned!

Six weeks after her cardiac operation, Jackie was finally able to be discharged and returned home to be reunited with her brother and sister.

Ugandan girl standing on the sidewalk in a black T-shirt and skirt

We were stunned and overjoyed when we received Jackie’s one-year post-surgery update. She looked like the very picture of health! Now, Jackie was able to do many things that she had been unable to do before her surgery. She was very pleased to be helping out around her brother’s house, cooking the meals, helping with chores, and walking to visit friends in the area.

Young woman in Uganda smiling and wearing a brown shirt

We recently had a new update on Jackie, and she still looks amazing. She continues to return to the Uganda Heart Institute every six months to have her heart checked, and we are happy to report that she is doing well. Jackie told us that she is so grateful to Love Without Boundaries. She believes that God used LWB to give her a new heart and a better life.

Young woman in Uganda wearing a bright blue dress in front of a brick wall

Jackie’s healthy, happy smile is the wonderful result of generous medical care donors who make our work possible around the world. We are truly grateful!

Young woman in Uganda showing her heart surgery scar
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