Facebook donations help 9 month-old baby get lifesaving surgery

A nine-month-old baby boy was able to have a life saving heart surgery after his family created a Facebook appeal for donations to fly him to India for treatment.

Akiyal’s father Farhan, an engineer from the Maldives, decided to make a Facebook page after the family was unable to able to get any funding in Maldives for the operation, reported the Deccan Chronicle.

After launching the Facebook campaign back in July 2013, and undergoing three open heart operations, Farhan has announced that Akiyal has now recovered and they will be returning to the Maldives in a few days.

Akiyal was born with a rare heart condition known as double outlet right ventricle (DORV), a condition in which the blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart, is located in the wrong place.

“It was a complex surgery in the sense that the child was born with one side of the heart not developed, undeveloped left pumping chamber and a large hole in the heart along with a blockage of the artery going to the lung. He required a complex repair job, which wasn’t being done in the Maldives,” says the child’s doctor, Adil Sadiq, Head Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Sakra World Hospital in Karnataka.

Farhan told the Deccan Chronicle, “It was not possible to get funds in the Maldives, so my family and I decided to go online and ask for help from the social media. We went ahead with creating a Facebook page for our son.”

“We promoted the page by paying five dollars, which implied that 20,000 Facebook users would see the page,” says Farhan.

“The money that we used to promote the page time and again was less than 100 dollars, but we were able to raise Rs 8 lakh over the course of the year,” adds Farhan.

According to the article, the Facebook page received donations from anonymous altruists in Sri Lanka, Belgium, Maldives and Bangalore.