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Lisa Hamdi's Campaign

Please join me in raising funds for United Hatzalah of Israel. I am doing this in honor of GIlad Haim.

Message to sponsors:

They say time is a healer, and I finally feel ready to share Gilad Haim’s story. Please be patient as it is rather long ? I have always had faith in G-d. I had always prayed to G-d in happy times and times when I needed help, whether it was to pass an exam or a driving test. I always felt G-d was there for me and always listened to me. Throughout my adult life, my faith was never pushed to the limit. I had a beautiful life. I created a good life for myself here in Israel. I met Moshe; we married, built a great life together, and bought two incredible boys into the world. G-d truly blessed me. I was satisfied and content.

On 13th February, Moshe and I were overwhelmed to welcome our 3rd son into the world,  Gilad. Ariel and Yonatan were obsessed with him immediately, and my heart grew bigger than I ever thought possible. He was the perfect addition to our family.

The first few weeks of Gilad’s life were normal; he ate and slept around the clock and was a happy and easy-going baby. However, when Gilad turned six weeks, he began to cough. I wasn’t overly worried, but nevertheless, I decided to take him to the doctor. The doctor checked him, wasn’t worried and sent us home. However, Gilad’s cough wasn’t passing and simultaneously, the nurses informed me that he wasn’t putting on enough weight. Despite this, the doctor sent us home once again.

The following week  I took Gilad to the doctor and demanded a second opinion. I felt like whatever Gilad had was more than a cough; call it mothers instinct, I guess. The doctor gave us a referral to miyun(Casualty). There we waited to see the head doctor. The doctor took a brief look at Gilad and said everything looked fine; go home.

I began to get annoyed, and I lost all my patience!! Why was no one listening to me? Finally, I made it clear that this was more than just a cough! Gilad wasn’t eating properly, wasn’t putting on enough weight and was more tired and cranky than usual. The doctor saw I wasn’t happy, so he agreed to conduct a more thorough check, a heart scan. During the scan, I could see his face became tense and worried; he immediately rang up the cardiologist to perform a more sophisticated heart check – an echo.

It was then that my world fell apart, that moment where this journey began. The doctor informed us that Gilad was suffering from cardiomyopathy, a form of severe heart failure.

The doctor picked him up and rushed him to ICU, where he was attached to endless wires as well provided with breathing assistance. I broke down into tears and couldn’t comprehend what was happening.
My gorgeous baby was now lying in a hospital bed, and I was denied permission to hold, breastfeed and cuddle my baby.

Sadly the doctors weren’t very positive and prepared us for the worse. The unknown was petrifying, and each day, watching Gilad suffer whilst lying in a hospital bed and me not being able to help him was the worst feeling I have ever experienced as a mom.
This was when I needed G-d the most. I now required G-d more than ever. As the days went by, his situation got worse. Gilad’s smile was disappearing, and his breathing became more difficult. During this time, Moshe caught corona, and I had to take care of Gilad alone. This was when my faith in G-d grew, even more; I prayed to G-d around the clock. G-d was the one I turned to when I cried; G-d was the one I turned to when Gilad was in pain. 
G-d became my everything.

The doctors informed me it was a miracle that Gilad never caught corona as he was in close contact with Moshe. I didn’t overthink this at the time. I didn’t see this as a miracle. Whenever I think of miracles, I associate them with events in the Torah. From G-d splitting the Red Sea to free the people of Israel or G-d providing enough oil to the Macabbim. Was G-d really protecting Gilad from corona? To be honest, his body was so weak that I didn’t want to think what would have happened otherwise.

Another week passed by, and there was no improvement at all. So then, Moshe and I  made the brave decision to transfer Gilad to a different hospital specialising in heart conditions. We decided to move him because there is an intensive care heart unit. We knew this was the best place for Gilad. We knew this was something we had to do. We knew we would have tried and done our very best for Gilad.

Sadly the process and preparation of the move was not easy for Gilad, his heart was literally on the brink of collapsing, and he found it now increasingly difficult to breathe, even with assistance. But, looking back at it now, the move itself was truly another miracle. I believe if he wasn’t transferred, he wouldn’t be here today.

When Gilad arrived at the hospital, he was in critical condition; he could not open his eyes or suck a dummy. He could barely breathe. To our frustration, there was only one cardiologist on the ward due to it being during Pesach. The doctor performed an echo and looked at Moshe and me, and said, sadly, there is nothing more to do. Your son is dying, and it’s only a matter of time.

I burst into tears, trying to comprehend what was just said. My little baby of 2 months was going to be taken from me. During this incredibly difficult time, we were advised by family members to add Haim (which means “life”) to Gilad’s name – in the hope he would be provided with a long and happy life. In addition, so many people worldwide prayed and read Tehillim for Gilad Haim around the clock. The number of people worldwide (many of whom I don’t know)  praying for our son was indescribable. When the doctors gave up on our son, the belief in G-d and the power of Tehillim outweighed everything. That evening chag began, which then rolled into Shabbat. Moshe and I cried the entire time, we were watching our son suffer, and we knew we needed the biggest miracle ever. We needed G-d to answer our prayers; we needed G-d to save our son.

On Sunday morning (the 7th day of Pesach) we received our Pesach miracle, the head of the department, who had yet to meet Gilad Haim (due to the holiday), decided to evaluate his condition. There our miracle occurred. After doing an eco, we were informed that Gilad Haim had possibly been misdiagnosed.

They informed us that they needed to perform an MRI to be 100% sure. Waiting for those results, which simply took 5 minutes, felt like years. Suddenly I received some good news. Suddenly I believed there could be a slight chance for Gilad Haim. I will never forget that moment when the staff came back with smiles on their faces. Moshe and I were hysterically crying when they informed us Gilad Haim’s condition– ALCAPA could be treated with surgery.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My son wasn’t going to die! My son had a fighting chance. G-d performed the biggest miracle ever.

Gilad Haim then underwent an incredibly complex 12-hour surgery. I will never forget how many people that day prayed for Gilad Haim. Each day Gilad Haim got stronger and stronger. He regained his smile; he regained his voice; he regained his strength. Moshe and I regained our baby, and Ariel and Yonatan regained their brother.

From this experience, I have realised what matters in life: health and happiness. My family was torn apart for two months, but now we are back together, and I cherish it more than ever. We need to be grateful for the small things in life because this is what is most important. Although life can become crazy, and sometimes we simply need to pause and think about what truly matters to us, we need to take time to thank G-d for all our good things.

My faith and belief in G-d is stronger than ever, and G-d’s omnipotence and omnipresence is noticeable. G-d answered our prayers and saved my son. My Gilad Haim is now here with us, smiling, growing, playing and making his mark in this world. He has made such an impact on the world, and I know he will make the world a better and happier place.
Gilad means endless joy, and I know his long life will be filled with endless joy.

I decided to share this story so you are aware of his condition as, sadly, it is unknown and many babies (like Gilad) are misdiagnosed and simply die in their sleep

What is ALCAPA?
It is an extremely rare condition (affecting 1:300,000) births. The left coronary artery, which carries blood to the heart, begins from the pulmonary artery instead of the aorta. In a normal heart, the aorta takes oxygen-rich blood from the heart sending it out to the rest of the body, and the pulmonary artery takes oxygen-poor blood from the heart to the lungs to get oxygenated. However, as was in his case, when the blood that reaches the heart does not get as much oxygen as it should, the heart muscle becomes damaged and cannot pump effectively, causing the heart muscle to weaken or die. This can produce low-grade heart attacks. ALCAPA doesn’t present until after birth and around eight weeks of age because, in utero, blood and oxygen come from the mother. We are beyond lucky and forever grateful that we caught it as early as we did.

• ALCAPA is extremely rare and affects 1 in 300,000 births.
• If left untreated, about 90% of patients die by the time they are a year old.
• The only treatment for ALCAPA is open-heart surgery.
• It is not associated with any syndromes or non-cardiac conditions/disabilities.
• ALCAPA cannot be diagnosed during pregnancy as coronary arteries cannot be detected in utero.
• If caught early, many kids don’t have any restrictions in school, activity or sports.
• Because it is so rare, most die of slow heart attacks before their 1st birthday, with parents unaware of their condition. Most just assume it was SIDS.

**This is where I would love your help!!!

I am trying to raise enough money to purchase some life-saving medical equipment  (to be used in Israel) in honour of our Gilad to save lives in our home city of Netanya. I am reaching out to as many people as I know in the hope I can achieve this. Emergency first responders will use the equipment to help those in critical situations. In situations where they are desperate for help with no one to turn to.
If you think you would like to donate, please let me know.
Wishing you lots of health to you and your family.

Donations raised to date:

Raquel and Matt Firestone
Anonymous
Anonymous
Natalie Naamad
נעמי כרמי
Sara and Asaf Hanegby
Debra Gordon
What an absolute miracle. Wishing you all only health & happiness! Best of luck reaching your goal xxx
Jackie Hoppen
From Jackie Hoppen
Dan Rickman
Incredibly moved by your story and inspired that you have found ways to help others who might need help in the future. Dan, Alex & Tali x
Kim Steinberg
What a great cause and wishing all the family well for the future . Love kim ian Scott and hayden ❤️
Joshua Goodman
Goodman family tzadah tin in honour of Gilads special miracle and to saving more lives!
YSDE ישדא
God bless, Limor
Carol Shaw
A donation in the name of Lisa Hamdi son
Samantha Braha
A great cause I’m the name of a gorgeous boy and his incredible family
Sarah Hiller
Rachel Savaya
Claire Cohen
Melanie Moses
Sarah Richards
Anonymous
Anonymous
Jonathan Hausmann
Helene Jacobs
Thank you for all you do
Elana Salomon
Jeanette Sela
Jodie Saltman
Wishing you much success in your amazing campaign and only health and happiness going forward xx
Anonymous
Amy Solomon
Thank you for the amazing work and it is amazing to see Gilad thriving. May he have only health, happiness and success xx
Hannah Fisher sigel
Nicola Bagel
Amazing cause, so proud of you all xxx
Judy Tumber
Hayley Greenspan
Shannon Delany
Lisa & Haim Garfinkle
Debbie Fishel
Anonymous

About United Hatzalah

United Hatzalah is an independent, non-profit, fully volunteer Emergency Medical Services organization that provides the fastest and free emergency medical first response throughout Israel. United Hatzalah's service is available to all people without regard to race, religion or national origin.