By Mike Puia
EFFORTS to raise funds to help 13-year-old Andy Tolobua undergo heart surgery outside the country are continuing.
The latest to give a hand is the Member of Parliament for West Honiara, Namson Tran.
Tran, through his Constituency Development Officer, Mr Brian Taupiri, delivered a bank cheque worth $10,000 to Andy’s parents, Jimmy and Nester, on Thursday.
Tran is understood to be the first MP to step in and give a hand.
Andy is suffering from bicuspid aortic valve problem, a heart problem he was born with.
According to the National Referral Hospital (NRH), this life-threatening problem can only be treated overseas.
Nothing was known about Andy’s heart problem until a team of heart specialists from Australia visited the NRH in July of this year.
After examining Andy, the visiting team confirmed that Andy suffered from severe aortic regurgitation which requires “urgent surgery”.
Overseas airfares, accommodation, meal, transportation and surgery cost is expensive. For Andy’s parents, the cost is unbearable.
The Cardiologist who examined Andy, Dr David Rose, stated in his report that there is a chance Andy’s left ventricle might fail not long which means Andy needs to have his aortic valve replaced and his aortic root replaced.
The nearest place where the family looks to for Andy’s heart surgery is Canberra, Australia. Even though Australia is close, the cost is still very high.
Andy’s parents have been running around looking for help to get their child overseas to get heart treatment. They have gone on to do public appeals and fundraisings.
Many people have come forward and support the couple.
A group of passionate local photographers have stepped in to do a “one-shot” photo campaign to help raise funds to help Andy.
Andy’s appeal posters have been pegged along the street and his clips and photos on social media as part of the family’s effort to raised funds to help Andy.
When handing the cheque, Taupiri said the support comes from Tran’s personal money as gesture of Tran’s wish to see Andy recover.
He said Tran has conveyed his best wishes to the family as they look to get Andy to any specialised hospital overseas for life-saving treatment.
Andy’s parents, Jimmy and Nester, were overwhelmed by the support.
They said they are so happy that Hon Tran responded to their appeal very quickly.
“We are so thankful that Hon Tran responded very quickly. What Hon Tran does shows that he cares for the children,” the emotional Nester said.