Zambian girl, 6, gets life-saving heart surgery thanks to two British Olim

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Zambian girl, 6, gets life-saving heart surgery thanks to two British Olim

Victoria Changanya was operated on by doctors in Israel after £8,000 was raised during a Euro 2020 final watch-a-long in Tel Aviv, organised by Matt Keston and Natasha Gee-Firsht

Jack Mendel is the former Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Matt Keston and Natasha Gee-Firsht with Victoria and her mother Anna
Matt Keston and Natasha Gee-Firsht with Victoria and her mother Anna

A six-year-old girl from Zambia has received life-saving heart surgery thanks to funds collected by two British Olim.

Victoria Changanya was operated on by doctors in Israel after more than £8,000 was raised during a Euro 2020 final watch-a-long on a Tel Aviv beach.

The proceeds from the event, organised by Matt Keston and Natasha Gee-Firsht, went towards Israeli charity Save A Child’s Heart (SACH), which operates on children with heart conditions from around the world.

Victoria from the Ngombe region of Zambia was referred to SACH after experiencing breathlessness, turning blue, and having pain in her joints. She was diagnosed with two heart conditions – tetralogy of Fallot and pulmonary atresia, but was unable to get treatment in her home country.

After she was brought to Israel, she underwent two bouts of life-saving surgery in May and August at the Wolfson Medical Centre in Holon, and is now in recovery.

Natasha with Victoria

Natasha Gee-Firsht said she and Matt Keston “were kindly invited to spend the morning at Wolfson Hospital and the Save a Child’s Heart home, meeting all of the special people working and volunteering behind the scenes and of course the brave patients and their families.

“We were surprised to be greeted by this gorgeous little 6 year old girl Victoria and her mum Anna from Zambia.

“We learned that the money raised from the England Fan Zone TLV Euro 2020 Final directly covered the costs towards saving her life!

“She is doing well in recovery now and will hopefully be returning home soon to start school!”

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