Tanzanian teen gets life-saving surgery in Israel thanks to Bat Mitzvah girl

Amelie Anderson first became engaged with SACH, which has saved at least 6,000 pediatric heart care patients, in October 2020 when she embarked on her first challenge.

Amelie Anderson, 12, raised funds for Salma, 15, to receive life-saving heart surgery in Israel (photo credit: COURTESY OF SAVE A CHILD'S HEART)
Amelie Anderson, 12, raised funds for Salma, 15, to receive life-saving heart surgery in Israel
(photo credit: COURTESY OF SAVE A CHILD'S HEART)

A 15-year-old from Tanzania has received life-saving heart surgery at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel, thanks to funds collected by a 12-year-old girl.

In the months leading up to and following her July 2021 Bat Mitzvah, Amelie Anderson, who is from the United Kingdom, raised $18,000 to support the charity Save A Child’s Heart (SACH), quickly surpassing her original goal of $15,000. 

Based in Holon, Israel, SACH has saved at least 6,000 pediatric heart care patients who live in countries with limited or no access to medicine. 

 the children of the Save a Child's Heart (SACH) dressed up as the doctors who saved their lives (credit: SAVE A CHILD'S HEART) the children of the Save a Child's Heart (SACH) dressed up as the doctors who saved their lives (credit: SAVE A CHILD'S HEART)

Approximately 50% of the children who receive SACH services are from the Palestinian Authority and Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Morocco; more than 40% are from Africa; and the remainder are from Asia, Eastern Europe and the Americas, according to the organization. 

Anderson first became engaged with SACH in October 2020, when she embarked on her first challenge: '60,000 steps for 60,000 heartbeats'.

The heart of a healthy 12-year-old girl (Bat Mitzvah age) beats approximately 60,000 times every 12 hours. So, as her first challenge, Anderson participated in a sponsored walk of 60,000 steps (26 miles / 42 km) along the Thames towpath - over two days - from Tower Bridge to Hampton Court Palace. The following October, Anderson completed her second challenge - another 26-mile (42km) walk - this time, from Hampton Court Palace to Windsor Castle.

In April 2022, Anderson finally made it to Israel, where she was matched with Salma, a 15-year-old girl from Zanzibar, Tanzania, who was diagnosed two years earlier with an acute heart condition known as mitral regurgitation. 

In March, 2022, Salma underwent life-saving heart surgery at Wolfson Medical Center, thanks to the funds people donated from Anderson's  campaigns. 

To celebrate the successful surgery, world-renowned illusionist and psychic Uri Geller hosted both girls in Jaffa where  he gave a tour of his new Uri Geller Museum, while demonstrating his spoon-bending powers.