A Mended Heart for Fils

At Agahozo-Shalom, we center our work on the Jewish value of tikkun halev, repairing the heart. Last month, tikkun halev took on new meaning for one of our kids, Fils.

 Above, Fils with Health & Wellness Team Leader, Theoneste, his ASYV family mama, Godelieve and his social worker, Emmanuel.

Above, Fils with Health & Wellness Team Leader, Theoneste, his ASYV family mama, Godelieve and his social worker, Emmanuel.

It was the beginning of the 2017 school year when Fils, ASYV Class of 2020, began feeling light-headed and weak. A couple of months later, his left shoulder stopped working and he could no longer lift his arm. Fils visited the ASYV Health and Wellness Center (HWC), where he was diagnosed with high blood pressure. The HWC then determined that the hypertension was due to a rare heart defect that Fils had had from birth, which made it difficult for his heart to pump blood throughout his whole body.

“When I had this problem, I started to give up because I felt like my future would not be better, like I could die very soon. But the Village gave me a lot of support," says Fils.

When it became clear that the top hospital in Rwanda could not provide the treatment Fils needed, ASYV contacted experts around the world to develop a plan of action. With support from medical experts on the ASYV Program Committee, it was decided that Yashoda Hospital in Hyderabad, India could provide the best treatment for Fils' condition.

With the financial support of ASYV and the Rwandan government, Fils and Health and Wellness Team Leader Theoneste (Theo) Bugingo flew to Hyderabad. There, Fils was admitted to the Yashoda Hospital, where his heart was successfully operated on by a cardiothoracic surgeon.

Theo was there with Fils every step of the way. “Theo supported me in everything,” Fils remembers. “After surgery he washed me and washed my clothes, and I appreciated that from him.”

Fils and Theo returned to ASYV on August 30th, where they were greeted with a celebration. Thanks to the loving care of ASYV family members around the world, Fils' heart was healed.

“Now I feel good," says Fils. "I feel like this problem has reached its end and I feel excited about that.”

 Above, Fils reunited with his ASYV family mama and biological family, with Theo, on arriving back to Rwanda.

Above, Fils reunited with his ASYV family mama and biological family, with Theo, on arriving back to Rwanda.

Submitted by Noah Wolf-Prusan, Communications Fellow 2018