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You would have to have a heart of stone not to go at least “aww, shame” (in that very South African way that we do) about the story we run on saturday of Baby Atang’s birthday and the fact that she’s here to celebrate it thanks to life-saving heart surgery.
When her mother, Tintswalo Baloyi, heard her baby girl had a hole in her heart, she had a “nervous breakdown”.
The diagnosis of the life-threatening defect led to a specialised procedure performed just two weeks before Atang’s first birthday by a special team of surgeons and nurses at the Netcare Sunninghill hospital.
She was the beneficiary of the Heart to Heart Campaign backed by Netcare and Medipost Holdings.
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It was coordinated by the Maboneng Foundation, a nonprofit organisation involved in implementing sponsorship of surgeries for South African children with congenital heart defects.
Atang’s condition was first detected by the government’s Steve Biko Academic Hospital.
There is a long waiting list for specialised surgeries such as this, so the involvement of the private sector was critical in saving Atang’s life.
Amid the clouds of local and global gloom – from our own national flood disaster to war and death – Atang’s story is the light of hope.