Haitian infant needs urgent surgery to correct congenital birth defect
By Juliana Gallo
MAIMI, FL – Wideberla Pierre is a beautiful seven-month-old baby who was born with a large mass under her left arm and side. She was diagnosed with a congenital lymphangioma, a malformation of the lymphatic vessels that produces an abnormal growth. This malformation prevents Wideberla from having a normal life, wearing normal clothes and reaching key developmental infant stages such as crawling. Her parents are desperate to provide their only daughter a chance for a normal life by getting the medical care she urgently needs.
International Kids Fund’s (IKF’s) Wonderfund, a program of the Jackson Memorial Foundation, is calling upon the South Florida community to help raise the $95,000 needed for Wideberla’s surgery at Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.
Treatment for this condition includes several phases depending on the patient. In Wideberla’s case, her disfiguring chest lymphangioma compromises some major blood vessels; therefore, doctors are planning to use chemical sclerosis as a first step. During this stage, a drug will be injected into her lesion in attempt to shrink it in size in order to facilitate surgical removal. Based on the size of the residual tumor, a single-stage versus a two-stage operation will be planned by teams of plastic surgeons and pediatric surgeon to remove the residual tumor and reconstruct the large defect resulting from its removal.
“We are putting together a team of experts to help Wideberla. The large mass that is growing on her side is a threat to her health and development. If not removed, the mass will have an impact on Wideberla’s ability to stand, walk, etc.,” explained Dr. Morad Askari, Assistant Professor, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine. “The mass can also cause skin breakdown which may lead to an infection, complicating the baby’s health condition even more.”
Wideberla is an only child who lives with her parents in Petite Anse, Haiti – a city near CapHaitien in the northern part of the country. Doctors were not able to treat Wideberla when she was born and even told her mom her baby could die at anytime. “You can imagine what a devastating impact it had on us, we felt hopeless, but a kind friend put us in contact with the IKF and now we are hopeful that Wideberla will have a chance at a healthy life and develop into a wonderful young lady,” stated Rosenie Michel.
“We want to help Wideberla by providing her the medical treatment she so desperately needs; giving her the opportunity to grow without this malformation and thrive,” said Niurka Del Valle, director of the IKF’s Wonderfund. “We ask the South Florida community to help Wideberla get the chance to crawl, walk, and grow as a happy healthy child!”
IKF’s Wonderfund is helping raise the money necessary for Wideberla’s surgery to take place at Holtz Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately, because she is not a U.S. resident, public funds cannot be used to pay for her surgery, and therefore the community’s help is urgently needed.
IKF’s Wonderfund’s campaign on behalf of Wideberla was launched during a news conference at the Diagnostic Treatment Center (DTC) at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Present were Wideberla; her mother Rosenie Michel; Niurka Del Valle and Dr. Morad Askari, Assistant Professor, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
How to Help
Donations can be made online by visiting www.wonderfund.org
People interested in making a donation via mail can also send a check or money order made out to IKF’s Wonderfund with a memo indicating Wideberla’s name: IKF’s Wonder-fund, Re: Wideberla Pierre, P.O. Box 2020 , Miami, FL 33101 or by calling 1-877-453-5437
It is very important to include “Wideberla Pierre” on the check or money order in order to credit her account properly.