Take Heart Mercy Mission was developed in 2012, following a meeting between the Trustees and Co-Founders of Mercy Mission, Conal Austin and John Simpson, with friend of many years and Chairman of Gillingham Football Club, Paul Scally.
The aim of the missions is to provide an expert team of cardiac surgical, anaesthetic and intensive care personnel to perform operations on children with congenital cardiac conditions, and to manage the intensive care unit until the patients are fit and stable enough to be discharged into a regular hospital ward.
In addition to this, the Evelina Children's Hospital team provides daily lecture programmes, teaching practical operative experience, anaesthetic instructions and consultant-led specialist intensive care management, to benefit Sri Lankan medics in the longer term.
The first mission under this new charity made a successful trip to Sri Lanka in September.
A team of 14 Volunteer medics travelled to the Karapitaya Hospital in Galle, dedicating their own time to perform heart surgery on the young children with serious heart defects. Children who would be unlikely to survive without the treatment and care they received from this dedicated team.
With diagnostics and assessments of 137 children, and operations taking place over a six day period, the highly skilled team completed a total of seventeen difficult heart surgeries. Fifteen of these were successful, giving the gift of a normal healthy life. Sadly, two of the children did not survive despite the extraordinary efforts made by the team.
Much to the delight of returning team members, children seen on previous trips under the original Mercy Mission charity returned for annual check ups.