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Charity Spotlight: Save A Child’s Heart Canada

November 10, 2020
Save a Child’s Heart was born out of one doctor’s unstoppable drive and compassion to help others. To date, they've saved 5,400 children from 62 countries.
Written By Sydney CowieNovember 10, 2020

Benjamin was deemed inoperable. He was a young orphan in Hangzhou, China suffering from a congenital heart defect. Benjamin’s chances of receiving the treatment he needed were bleak. But his story didn’t end there.

Thanks to Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), Benjamin continues to write his own story today with a healthy heart and a new family. In 2013, Benjamin was brought to Israel where the SACH medical team successfully repaired his defect and had him on the road to recovery.

Benjamin (left) after his life-saving surgery

Word travelled about the young boy’s newfound health all the way to California. A woman looking to adopt received an email about Benjamin and quickly felt a connection to him. She welcomed him with open arms to her family where he now lives with his four siblings in San Diego.

In 2018, SACH Canada brought Benjamin and his parents to Toronto for a visit. Karen Diamond, Chair of the Canadian Board, got to hear first-hand how Benjamin has flourished and grown. The obstacles he had overcome at the age of 10 are more than many of us will ever know. Benjamin’s resilience is what inspires Karen and many others like her at SACH to continue their work to save children’s lives against all odds around the world.

10-year-old Benjamin and his family on their visit to Toronto

Making dreams come true: SACH helps families all over the globe

Benjamin is 1 of 5,400 children from 62 countries who’ve received treatment from SACH to date.

Save a Child’s Heart was born out of one doctor’s unstoppable drive and compassion to help others. In 1995, Dr. Amram Cohen, originally from Washington, DC, had taken a surgical post at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel. A former colleague from Ethiopia contacted Dr. Cohen to express the staggering number of Ethiopian children in need of heart operations who could not receive them. The poor conditions of the medical facilities in Ethiopia were evident as soon as Dr. Cohen arrived. His mission to bring physicians to the children for surgical rotations in Ethiopia soon pivoted to assessing children in their local country and bringing them to Israel for safe surgery.

What started 25 years ago with Dr. Amram Cohen helping two Ethiopan children in need has grown into an international organization. Today, SACH not only provides cardiac treatment to children from developing countries but also trains cardiac surgeons and other medical personnel to prepare them to establish pediatric heart surgery facilities in their own countries.

Bringing SACH to Canada

Save a Child’s Heart Canada was established after Canadian philanthropist, Ephriam Diamond, received a life-changing, emotional phone call. A mother and her ailing baby needed airfare from St. Vincent to Israel to receive life-saving treatment on the child’s heart. As a father himself, Mr. Diamond did not hesitate to get involved. The magnitude of SACH hit home when he spoke to the mother on her journey to Israel.

“Her voice was soft and genuine as she thanked me for making this a possibility. It was then that I was reminded of the unimaginable possibility of losing one’s child. The next phone call came to announce the success of the operation, the child’s quick recovery, and their plans to return home. The mother’s voice was now filled with an energy that I will never forget. I was hooked. What more could one dream of than making a difference that helps save the life of a child?”, Mr. Diamond recalled. His legacy lives on in SACH Canada’s strong, long-lasting board, which Mr. Diamond’s children and grandchildren remain actively involved in.

“Save a Child’s Heart embodies so much of what I believe in – the value of children, the power of medicine, extraordinary people, passion, working together with people of different cultures and beliefs to come together for a common goal-saving children’s lives and improving international pediatric healthcare.”
Karen Diamond, Chair of the Canadian Board.

The effects of COVID-19 on the SACH community

Along with the rest of the world, the unprecedented events of 2020 have brought new challenges and shifts to the organization. The SACH medical team in Israel quickly pivoted to use their expertise in heart and lung conditions to assist Israelis suffering from critical COVID-19 cases.

In addition, while borders were closed, the SACH team in Israel worked tirelessly to begin building a state-of-the-art International Pediatric Cardiac Centre and Children’s Hospital. SACH Canada has set a $1.3M CAD fundraising goal in 2020 to help equip the Pediatric Heart Institute at the new Children’s Hospital in Israel, as well as provide cardiac treatments for children from Tanzania and Zanzibar.

The future of SACH

The incredible impact this organization has on families around the world can only continue with ongoing, long term support from donors. Planned giving, a charitable donation given to an organization at death outlined in one’s Will, allows SACH to ensure their future is prosperous. It also allows donors the opportunity to give a substantial gift that they may not have been able to afford otherwise.

SACH Canada on a Tanzania mission

As parents, partners, sons, and daughters, we know the incredible lengths we’d personally take to protect our own families. The impact of extending our support to families beyond our own who need it most is the remarkable foundation SACH is built on.

Learn more about their work here and consider leaving a planned gift in your Will to support their ongoing life-saving care for children.

Written By Sydney Cowie