Chain of Hope
For this edition of Behind the Blue Walls we interviewed a wonderful charity who store with us in London called Chain of Hope. They provide a high standard of cardiac care to children all over the world in areas where treatment is unavailable, even for treatable or preventable cardiac diseases. Speaking to Rachel, their Fundraising and Communications Executive, we discovered more about the work they do and some of the incredible success stories they’ve been instrumental to.
Where did it all begin?
Chain of Hope was founded 20 years ago in London by Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, OM FRS, with the vision of providing children born with heart disease in developing and war-torn countries with the treatment they so desperately needed.
Services provided by Chain of Hope
Since 1996, Chain of Hope have treated children from countries as far flung as El Salvador, Ethiopia, Egypt and Jamaica. One in every 100 babies is born with a cardiac disease and babies born in developing countries do not have access to care that they need.
Chain of Hope work not only to treat as many children as they can through their International Child Referral Programme but also to build up free services in-country through training and the provision of equipment. This means that in the future, children will be able to access care locally.
One such example of this initiative is when the charity successfully helped to establish the Aswan Heart Centre with seed funding in 2009; today it is a centre of excellence in Africa that treats more than 800 children a year.
Every child that thrives, attends school, works or has the opportunity to build their own family is a success story for Chain of Hope. Last year the charity visited Aziz (pictured below), one of the first patients treated on their International Child Referral Programme, who was flown from Aswan in Egypt to London in 1997 at the young age of 12 for urgent heart surgery.
His operation went well and now he is working hard to provide for his own young family, feeling as fit and healthy as his friends. Rachel told us ‘it was fantastic to see him flourishing – this is the culmination of the hope in our name – hope for a healthier, happier future for children with heart disease’.
How can people find out more about/support the charity?
Chain of Hope are a small charity who deeply appreciate all the support they get, whether that is through volunteering your time, or donating towards their work. If you would like to find out more, or make a donation take a look at their website at www.chainofhope.org or call on 020 7351 1978.