One child in every 100 is born with a heart defect. – Photo courtesy of CC Wikimedia
CAIRO – 16 November 2017: “What I worry about is the lack of understanding in societies around the world that there is a divide in the world between those who have and those who do not.” - Magdi Yacoub
Son of a surgeon born in Bilbeis, Al Sharqia in Egypt, Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub studied at Cairo University and became a doctor in 1957.
“I always wanted to be a surgeon, because I had a lot of admiration for my father, who is also a surgeon. I also wanted to be a heart surgeon. That was motivated by the fact that my young aunt, a sister of my dad, died in her early 20s of a correctable heart disease.”
Sir Yacoub founded the Chain of Hope foundation in 1996, which serves as the bridge connecting experts who provide life-saving heart treatments to children in developing countries.
“I have a charity called the Chain of Hope targeting children from poor areas where heart surgery is not available, and we offer our services.”
A message Sir Magdi Yacoub published on the Chain of Hope website notes that it is a little-known fact that 1 child in every 100 is born with a heart defect. Most of these defects can be corrected by operations which are performed as a matter of routine in developed countries. In contrast, if uncorrected, these defects can cause considerable suffering and premature death. This afflicts a massive number of children around the world.
Chain of Hope was created to help as many of these children as possible. Children are flown for urgent treatment to one of the hospitals in the organization’s international network and volunteer teams are sent to their countries to help develop local services in the longer term.
“I feel privileged to be a link in the chain that helps these children,” Yacoub, president and founder of Chain of Hope, stated.
He was a close friend of Princess Diana, who was also a huge supporter of the Chain of Hope charity.
The charity holds a gala each year with auctions that aim to amass donations sponsoring children in developing counties for surgery and treatments. The upcoming gala will be hosted by comedian Omid Djalili on Friday Nov 17, 2017, at the iconic Grosvenor House on Park Lane, London.
An exclusive live performance from Grammy award-winning Jamaican superstar Sean Paul will also take place. Paul is renowned for number 1s such as “Rockabye,” “Cheap Thrills” and “Get Busy”. In addition, Elie Saab fans can look forward to a spectacular fashion show featuring their amazing haute-couture collection!
Tickets are now sold out for the gala.
He was among the three surgeons who were the first to perform an open heart surgery in Nigeria in 1974. In 1986, he was a part of the team that developed the techniques of the heart-lung transplantation at the National Heart and Lung Institute. He also led a British research team at Harefield hospital in 2007 aiming to grow a part of the human heart using stem cells. These efforts were all exerted in order to overcome the shortage of transplant heart donations.
Some of his highly notable awards include an Order of Merit and a Knight bachelor from Queen Elizabeth II. He also received an Order of the Nile, which is Egypt's highest state honor.
In another life he would have loved to be a farmer. He says, “if I wasn't going to be a surgeon, I wanted to be a farmer or grow oranges or something like that. I grow flowers, now, orchids. That is something that I find very interesting.”
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