The hope of travelling abroad for a heart surgery has increased for 11-month-old baby, Shalom Omoike, as Buki Ponle, Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria, launched an appeal fund for him.
Ponle, on Friday in Lagos, led other members of staff to formally launch the appeal fund to save the baby, whose mother is a journalist with the NAN.
Speaking at an interactive session with members of staff of the agency, the managing director prayed that Shalom would come out of the hospital to live his normal life.
Ponle said the NAN management and members of staff had individually and collectively shown support to save the baby’s life.
He said: “I believe that with our moral and financial supports, Shalom shall live and become a worthy ambassador to NAN, his family, the community and Nigeria as a whole.
“NAN has a responsibility to help the family to solicit for financial assistance, and today we are formally inaugurating the campaign: #Save Shalom.
“Whatever we can do at our own level, let us do.
“Shalom needs us now so that in the future he will look back and say that we contributed to saving his life.
“We will continue to do this until we see Shalom out of the hospital alive, and I believe that we can do it with your support.”
The managing director said the response so far to save Shalom shows that NAN was and would always be one loving family supporting one another in time of needs.
NAN reports that Shalom’s mother, Mercy Omoike, had appealed to kindhearted Nigerians, corporate organisations and the three tiers of government for financial assistance for a heart surgery for her 11-week-old baby.
Omoike said the baby boy was born on October 23, with a heart problem and needed N7.5 million for surgery.
“I appeal to Nigerians to come to the aid of Shalom and give him the opportunity to have his heart fixed and grow up normally,” she pleaded in an emotion-laden voice.
According to her, the boy was discharged from Bee Hess Hospital, Akowonjo, Lagos on November 3, 2020, where he was born.
Omoike said: “Shalom was an outpatient for two weeks at the private hospital, Bee Hess Hospital, before we were referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos on November 27.
“He has since been an outpatient at the Paediatric Cardiology Unit of LUTH.
“Shalom has been placed on observation until he is three months old to avoid complications during surgery because of his age.”
Omoike said Shalom was born with a Symptomatic Congenital Heart disease confirmed by Echocardiography as Transposition of the Great Arteries, large-sized inlet Ventricular Septal Defect and multiple muscular VSDs.
The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust described Transposition of the Great Arteries as “a birth defect of the heart”.
Omoike said: “When Shalom was born, he had difficulty in breathing and had to be placed on oxygen for 10 days to stabilise him.
“A scan, chest X-ray and ECG were carried out on him to determine the fast breathing, because he kept breathing very fast, though he was still on oxygen.”
Overwhelmed with joy about the support she received from the agency, Omoike thanked the managing director for championing the course for her baby.
She thanked the NAN management and the entire workers for the support to the family during her challenging period.