Posted on 23 March, 2014

Armed with 40 boxes of donated equipment made the trip to the airport a little crowded and chaotic. Thanks to all the assistance from our favourite flying partners, Singapore Airlines that made sure all the equipment and donations were packed on the plane with us.

Contained in the boxes are some special valves, patches and accessories we don’t normally carry to Cambodia. However, on this trip there is one very sick 14 year old boy awaiting our arrival. He needs an urgent heart valve replacement to be able to survive this year. The biggest risk is the wait for our team to arrive and sadly sometimes children are too sick and succumb to their illnesses. I hear that our 14 year old boy, Reaksa, is courageously still waiting – not long to go now so please stay strong.

After what seemed like well over 24 hours of travel all 24 of us finally arrived in Siem Reap in Cambodia for a week with OHI. We have come from all over the world: Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Alice Springs, Saudi Arabia and India and the fact that most of us had never met until yesterday should not be underestimated. We aim to be a harmonious team by educating and performing lifesaving surgeries. The team is made up of nurses, intensive care specialists, physiotherapist, anaesthetist, cardiologist, perfusionist and our rock star open heart surgeon (also the most humble man you could meet) who will lead the team in surgery. Together the team will perform up to 13 complex paediatric open heart surgeries over the course of the next five days.

Egos were left at the airport and the only baggage this team has is the 40 boxes of equipment, many of it in which we will leave here with the AHC team to continue on performing open-heart surgery with their newly acquired skills imparted from the Aussie OHI team.

The week will be intense, amazing, rewarding and heart wrenching as well as gruelling hard work in difficult conditions. However, we are all hopeful that we will emerge next Sunday with 13 successful open heart surgeries, many doctors and nurses trained at the Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) and all of our hearts and souls fed by the generous gift of giving.

We will keep you updated of our journey so stayed tuned. Thank you to the 24 volunteers that make up our team this trip, along with the hundreds of people behind the scenes that work tirelessly to make this happen.

2014team airport

Tags:  Cambodia,