Rotary help boy get heart op

CIARA PRATT
Last updated 05:00 12/02/2013
Victor Mete
BIll Horne

BEFORE: Victor Mete recovering after heart surgery at Starship Hospital.

Victor Mete
BIll Horne
AFTER: Victor Mete is now a healthy 6-year-old after having heart surgery in Auckland.

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A simple activity such as running around a field is now possible for a young boy from Vanuatu.

Victor Mete was flown to Auckland from Vanuatu for life-saving heart surgery by rotary humanitarian organisation, Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children.

The Rotary Club of Henderson looked after the family when they arrived in Auckland.

The 6-year-old was born with a hole in his heart which was only discovered and diagnosed at 17 months.

He struggled to breathe, often having to squat and rest to catch his breath every few minutes.

In December, the young boy underwent a three-hour operation at Starship Hospital to repair the hole in his heart.

Henderson Rotary Club president Roger Laloli says members of the club showed the family around Auckland during the tough time.

"As a club, our role is in pre-care and post-care so we provide the transport while they are here and take them on numerous outings around Auckland."

He says the programme is a wonderful opportunity to help out struggling people in international communities.

"Without these operations young people die. It's just a shame we can only help a few at a time.

"It's our pleasure to do this. It does cost us but you do it because you can," Mr Laloli says.

Victor's grandmother Ruth Carlot says her grandson is now well enough to attend school thanks to the surgery.

"Victor is breathing normally, he can jump, run and is eating well and putting on weight," she says.

"We want to thank Rotary for their generosity and for saving a child's life that could not afford such surgery.

"Rotary Henderson has saved my grandson's life - it is amazing and wonderful."

Mr Laloli says the transformation in Victor after the surgery was amazing to see.

"Victor arrived and was a washed-out child and he used to squat all the time but two weeks after the operation he was running around the park, it was incredible."

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- Western Leader

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