Saving Zuri – Championing the Cause of Children

Seven years ago, the kindness of others helped The Heart Foundation to bring an early Christmas gift and miracle to a child, whose parent could not afford heart care for her. For the past 7 years economic hardship has hit many, including the Heart Foundation; however the Foundation strives to never turn anyone away. The financial report for the year ending June 30th, 2012, showed the Foundation operating with a loss of $187,035; primarily because of the increase in the of children who needed immediate heart care that year and the lack of funds to offset cost. Your gift and considerations this Christmas can help give the gift of life to a child in need of heart care and hope to a family.

Seven years ago, Zanda Bonamy gave birth to a beautiful baby girl by the name of Zuri, in late October 2006. Zuri was an early thanksgiving present and a wonderful gift from God to her mother. Ms. Bonamy treasured the moments she spent with her new born for many reasons. Little did she imagine that her baby girl, her gift from God, would need a Christmas miracle or a financial gift to save her life.

No parent wants to hear that their newborn is ill. However, when Zuri had her initial check-up the neonatologist heard a heart murmur and referred Zuri and her mother. They were later referred to Dr. Jerome Lightbourne, pediatric cardiologist.  Dr. Lightbourne examined Zuri and subsequently diagnosed her with double outlet right ventricle (DORV).

This is a condition, at birth, where both of the great arteries connect (in whole or in part) to the right ventricle (RV), pumping oxygenated and deoxygenated blood into the body, at once.  Along with DORV, Zuri also had ventricular septal defect (VSD), commonly referred to as a hole in heart. She also had pulmonary valve stenosis (PVS) – a blockage in the flow of blood from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery.

Despite all the technical terms, one thing was certain, Zuri needed heart surgery soon, if she was going to live beyond the year’s end. The surgery Zuri needed to correct her heart problems cost $29,000 and had to be performed abroad. Unfortunately, Ms. Bonamy did not have the funds at that time and needed urgent help to save her daughter’s life. Through it all, this new mom spirits remained high because she relied on her faith in God.

Zuri’s case was referred to The Heart Foundation to help repair Zuri’s heart and save her life. Zuri received an early Christmas miracle in December 2006 that helped to save her life. Thanks to the generosity of the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation, Zuri had heart surgery at Holtz Children’s Hospital, performed by Dr. Rosenkranz, pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon.

In the words of Ms. Zanda Bonamy,

“Honestly, I didn’t have $29,000 on hand to pay for Zuri’s surgery. The Heart Foundation embraced my daughter like it was their own and she wasn’t kept on a waiting list. Once Dr. Lightbourne explained the need for surgery, they all went in to “Save Zuri” mode. I thank God for Mrs. Sassoon and the vision she had. I am forever in debt to the Heart Foundation. I never even knew they existed before. It’s a miracle that people like this still exist in our world today, who simply care about the well-being of a child regardless of social, academic or political status”.

The Heart Foundation is a non-profit organization, established by Lady Evelyn Sassoon in 1961, that helps to repair the hearts of children who cannot ordinarily afford heart care. The Heart Ball Committee is the fund raising arm of the Heart Foundation. Because of the generosity of others, Zuri is alive today. She is a healthy, vibrant and inquiring little girl who is working towards becoming a productive citizen.

You can help children in need of heart care this Christmas with a simple decision; join the fight against heart disease in children. You can join the Heart Ball Committee in the fight against heart disease in children by: planning to attend the Annual Heart Ball, making a donation to The Heart Foundation, becoming a major sponsor, purchasing booklet ads, donating Heart Ball prizes, participating in Heart Month activities, joining the Bahamas Heart Association and so much more.

On Saturday February 15th, 2014, The Heart Ball Committee will host the 50th Annual Heart Ball at Melia, formerly known and Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort. The theme for this Ball is, “Celebrating the Golden Anniversary of a Vision…Championing the Cause of Children”.

Guests can look forward to an evening filled with fun, excitement, elegance, fine food, dancing and lots of prizes. There will be live band and orchestral performances followed by special music to dance the night away to. All persons attending the Ball will have an opportunity to leave with a prize; there will be table prizes, an in-house raffle and a special auction. Featured items are jewelry from Cartier and Bulgari provided by John Bull, free airline tickets and much, much more.

One of the highlights of the evening is the presentation of the Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award. Most importantly, this event is the major fundraiser that benefits The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation, helping to repair the hearts of children.

Tickets for regular seating are $250 per person. Platinum seating and other sponsorship accommodations are also available.

For details on the 50th Heart Ball, donations, booklets ads, Heart Month or for more information, please call the Heart Foundation at 327-0806.

The Heart Foundation