BOSTON (WBZ) ― The 8-year-old twins boys are happy, sweet and so thankful. Ahmed and Mohammed Ibrahim are in Boston to say thanks to the man who saved their lives.
The boys were conjoined at the head, but then Boston businessman Ray Tye saw their picture in the Boston Globe. “You can’t imagine. You can’t imagine two kids conjoined, destined not to make it…surviving and growing.”
Archive for September, 2009
The story of Peter Oyuga came to our attention through Angels of Hope, a small non-profit organization that provides free basic healthcare to children in Uganda. This charity operates on a very small annual budget and when their Founder, Fay DeAvignon heard of Peter’s distressing case, she put all her personal effort into helping this small boy. Fay heard of The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation from a friend and applied to us for financial help. She told us she would use her own resources to sponsor the boy and his father during treatment and that she would offer them shelter in her own home in Natick, Massachusetts. The Foundation agreed to pay for the hospital and medical costs and the race to get Peter to the United States was on.
Several doctors in Uganda had diagnosed the child with bi-lateral retinoblastoma, cancerous tumors on both retinas, the tissue at the back of the eye. Not one of these doctors or clinics could offer Peter the care or surgery needed to cure the disease. Over time, the aggressive tumor in his right eye became extraocular, meaning that it extended beyond his eye and deformed his face. By this time, his left eye was developing a similar tumor. Peter’s parents, peasant farmers caring for a family of 10 other children, had done everything to find help for their 3-year-old son. Their meager resources were gone.
Fay DeAvignon found out quickly that the plan of action needed to bring the child and his father from Uganda to Boston was complicated. Passports, visas and transportation all needed to be painstakingly arranged. Time was slipping by and Peter’s disease was getting worse, taking a toll on his frail body. Dr. Aaron Fay at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary agreed to provide his evaluation and surgical services at no cost and Camille Condon of the Hospital’s International Program went all out to help Fay DeAvignon navigate the maze of government bureaucracy on both sides. The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation was firmly on board and it was clear that everyone was pulling together to give this little boy a chance to live. But several weeks went by before final arrangements were made and by then Peter seemed very close to death.
As a little girl in Poland, Anna Wuszter could not have guessed nor imagined what life had in store for her as a young woman, yet the inconceivable happened. In the years when this beautiful, vibrant new mother should have been enjoying the merriment and amusing diversions of young adulthood, she was instead fighting for her life.
When Anna was 25 years old, she was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of cancer known as sarcoma odontogenes mandibulae. The cancer had originated at the base of a tooth and quickly spread to her salivary glands, tongue and lower jaw. In three short months she was debilitated and in such extreme pain that not even morphine could relieve her suffering. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy finally brought the cancer itself under control but by then Anna had lost half of her face.
THE TEAM THAT SAVED HIS LIFE
- Guergana Barabonkova, a caring Bulgarian woman living in the Boston area
- The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation
- Fernanda Medeiros, International Health Services, Children’s Hospital
- Heung Bae Kim, M.D.,Director of the Pediatric Transplant Center at Children’s Hospital
Georgi Borisov was born in the Southeastern region of Bulgaria about 270 km from Sofia, the capital. He was born prematurely with a rare and deadly condition, Short Bowel Syndrome, characterized by infected, herniated and dramatically shortened intestines. In fact, his bowel was too short to absorb enough nutrients to keep him healthy. In this situation, bacteria feast and multiply excessively causing further complications. A child with this condition can be kept alive for a time by intravenous feeding but in many cases this type of feeding can lead to serious ramifications including liver failure and ultimately, death.
By Terri Carlson
The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation gets petitions for help from all over the world. The majority of these requests come through the Foundation’s website (rtmaf.org). I review each request to see if it falls within our mission statement, “To provide life-saving medical treatments and surgeries to those who have no medical insurance or other means to pay for their care.” Regardless of whether or not we can help we respond to each request promptly and with respect. If we determine this is a life-saving situation, we follow up with the family to gather all medical information.
When the information has been received we talk with our medical Advisory Board to determine which hospital/doctor would be the most appropriate to handle the case. We then contact the hospital to get estimates for the treatment and to negotiate favorable financial arrangements. When all paperwork is complete the pending case goes to Mr. Tye for approval. Most cases are urgent and immediate action is needed to save a life. The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation is unique in its ability and willingness to make decisions within a matter of days; at this point the family and the hospital can be notified, travel arrangements can be made and the process of saving a life has begun.