NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today announced the creation of Operation Mend a Heart, a joint partnership between Tulane University Hospital and Clinic (TUHC) and the United States Military, at a press conference in New Orleans. Operation Mend a Heart will provide humanitarian medical assistance to underprivileged children of war torn foreign countries who would otherwise not have access to pediatric medical and surgical care.
Below are Senator Landrieu’s complete remarks as prepared for delivery at this morning’s press conference. Sen. Landrieu said:
“Earlier this year, I visited
“But I was also struck by something else.
“I was struck by the strength and courage of the Iraqi people. For years, that strength and courage allowed them to persevere under the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.
“That strength and courage is what also led the Iraqi people to the ballot box in January even when faced with countless terrorist threats.
“And today, that strength and courage is helping the Iraqi people overcome the dangerous insurgency that has gripped their country.
“Unfortunately, these are hard times for the Iraqi people. But they still persevere.
“Perhaps there is no better example of this strength and courage than a little Iraqi boy named Baher. Baher is only 9 years old, too young to have to face the ravages of war – yet that is exactly what he has to do.
“But Baher’s story does not end with the war. He faces another challenge.
“Baher has a hole in his heart. If this hole is not closed, Baher faces congenital heart disease and death.
“If Baher hopes to see adulthood, his heart requires advanced medical treatment. But in a time of war, Baher cannot get that medical treatment at home.
“Thankfully, the good people of
“And thanks to a new project named Operation Mend-A-Heart, Baher will get the treatment he needs.
“Operation Mend-a-Heart will provide humanitarian medical assistance to underprivileged children of war-torn countries who would otherwise not have access to pediatric medical and surgical care.
“It will help Iraqi children who are facing enormous odds by bringing them here to
“And today, I am pleased to announce that Baher will be the first Iraqi child to benefit from this ground-breaking program.
“The people behind Operation Mend-a-Heart understand that one way we can support our troops is by supporting the people they are fighting for, the children of
“The people of
“I am overjoyed to know that the good men and women at Tulane Hospitals have taken the lead by creating Mend-a-Heart, the first program of its kind in the entire nation.
“I hope Operation Mend-a-Heart is only the beginning. So far, Tulane has already identified 50 underprivileged Iraqi children who require immediate medical attention, and I challenge every state to follow
“It takes a great deal of strength and courage for a 9 year-old boy to undergo surgery, much less travel half way around the world. But that is exactly the kind of strength and courage this young boy possesses.