Do you remember Naylah-Simone? We took care of her first time in 2018 and then a second time in September 2021 in order to finalise the operation to repair her heart. During her stay with her host family in the Paris region, she had the chance to meet Samantha Davies before her departure for the Transat Jacques Vabre. Since then, she has returned home to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she has been reunited with her mother, who was keen to tell us her story with an open heart:
Naylah-Simone was born on Tuesday 05 July 2016. Everything was normal, no alarms during the pregnancy, no worries after a caesarean delivery. This is how we welcomed our first child. We were in a hurry to finally play the role of parents. We have a piece of farmland which we use to grow maize which we sell.
After the birth I went to my parents' house to learn how to take care of Naylah. Three weeks after the birth she did not gain weight. After a visit to the paediatrician, he advised us to see a cardiologist. But cardiologists are rare in our town, Lubumbashi, in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Without delay we saw one who confirmed a congenital heart disease that required surgery in a short time. I remember his words, "I don't see your daughter reaching a year old if her heart is not operated.
Lost, confused, angry, we made a decision to love our daughter for the days she had left. I stopped farming to devote myself to our daughter. My degree enabled me to get a paid internship in a company in the city, which allowed us to have Naylah regularly monitored by a cardiologist.
Surprise! Her heart held out and despite the prognosis she reached one year. Despite all this, we could never raise the money to give her a heart operation. We were hoping for a miracle and then, a few days before hersecond birthday, in the middle of cyanosis, I called for help on social networks. I was letting off steam! My action was not in vain as a kind lady replied to my comment: "I have sent your message to Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, they will be able to contact you." Our glimmer of hope turned into what we had hoped for: a MIRACLE!
Then everything happened very quickly. In July 2018 we exchanged with Patronage and in October 2018 Naylah had her operation. When she returned we received the shocking news that she needed a second operation to get her heart working "normally".
As soon as she returned in December 2018, we saw a big change. Naylah started attending pre-school and in 2 years the only visits to the hospital were to check that everything was ok.
In 2021, Naylah returned to France for her full treatment.
This exceptional heart has put exceptional people in its path. Every beat of Naylah's heart involves thousands of people. Thanks to Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, she has crossed an entire continent. She has taken part in extraordinary activities and above all, her heart is repaired. Now she can run, as she says.
Naylah learned a lot in France. Sometimes it even seems that the role of parents was played as well in her host family. She had a great family! Thank you to them and to all the host families who take care of our children.