She was born with a defect called a Truncus arteriosus, a rare type of congenital heart disease in which a single blood vessel (truncus arteriosus) comes out of the right and left ventricles, instead of the normal two (pulmonary artery and aorta).
She had symptoms common with the problem, most notably a rapid loss of breath and an inability to keep up with kids her age when they were running around a playing.
The stark reality of Damilola’s condition really hit home for her parents when she collapsed one day and could not be revived. After being rushed to the clinic and being diagnosed with a heart problem, she had to be transferred to a hospital in Ghana where they were better-equipped to diagnose and monitor Damilola’s condition. If she wasn’t treated quickly, her condition would worsen and she could have died.
But Teni, Damilola’s mother, had lots to worry about. While her child was lying in an ICU bed fighting for her life, she was told that she would have to come up with the R250,000 to have Damilola’s heart fixed, which was far more than the little bit of money they could scrape together.
Damilola’s case was referred to the WSPCF and within weeks, her case was accepted. While Damilola’s parents are both in the medical profession, they still needed financial assistance to get to South Africa and have their daughter’s heart fixed.
They put what little money that had together and the WSPCF agreed to fund the balance in order to save their child’s life. On 1 February 2007 Damilola had her surgery and she was successfully discharged on the 11th.
Damilola, now almost five, is living a happy life as a normal child in Nigeria, going to school, and giving her mother and father a hard time as they try and keep up with her active nature. We’re so glad to see she’s doing so well!