On Nov. 13, on the top floor of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, I spent the evening examining the dozens of heartwarming, telling photographs that filled the room for the Save A Child’s Heart Photo Exhibition. So often, Israel is associated with conflict, but the exhibition highlights one of the most successful humanitarian efforts in Israel beyond the conflict.
The photographs, taken by diverse and acclaimed photographers, tell the story of the work done by Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli-based international humanitarian project that aims to improve pediatric cardiac care for children in developing countries. Each picture told a story, aiming to capture the emotions, the patients and the doctors associated with SACH’s wide-reaching efforts. Each picture was tastefully well done, and I felt the impact that SACH has had on children in need of cardiac care.
The photographs depicted the emotions felt by the SACH patients. In some pictures, children looked somber and afraid. In others, the children looked relieved and happy. It was powerful to see glimpses of the humanitarian work of Israelis.
At the same time, the photo exhibition saddened me. It’s unsettling to know that so many children in underprivileged areas suffer and that so many don’t have a resource like SACH available. Despite all of their success, SACH will never be able to cure every ailment, but the lives they change daily put things into perspective: Not only are we incredibly lucky to have these resources available to us, but we also have an opportunity to help. Luckily, those in Israel and even some here in Ann Arbor have found a way to help with SACH.
One of those people here in Ann Arbor is the world-renowned surgeon, Edward Bove, chair of Cardiac Surgery at the University Hospital, who was also at the exhibition. Bove worked with Save a Child’s Heart as he trained Leor Sasoon from 1998 to 2000 at Mott. Sasoon is now chief of the entire cardiothoracic department for SACH.
Bove spoke about how touching it is to know that his teachings have helped positively impact lives all around the world. It reminded me that if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. I guess the same can be said for heart surgery: Give a child a heart surgery; their life will be saved. Teach a man to perform life-saving surgeries, and perhaps they will save thousands of lives.
Ashley Israel, a local attorney and prominent SACH supporter in Michigan, spoke while I was at the exhibition and he stressed the profound impact that the organization has made and continues to make on the doctors and volunteers who spend time at the Wolfson Medical Center and the SACH home in Holon, Israel. The greatest success of the photo exhibition, other than its ability to tangibly display the work of SACH, is its ability to empower those in the room to improve themselves and the world we live in.
The exhibition, which continues at the University of Michigan Hillel, came to Ann Arbor thanks to the American Movement for Israel, a multi-opinioned, pro-Israel student group on campus. I’m thankful that AMI and SACH were able to bring this exhibition to Ann Arbor, and I encourage others to check out the photos as well.
David Weinfeld is an LSA sophomore.