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Golden Heart Initiative heals 50 children worldwide, honoring M.A. Yusuffali’s legacy

Tue 09 Apr 2024    
| 3 min read

Children with congenital heart diseases, from conflict zones and underprivileged families, received free life-saving surgeries under the golden heart initiative of by Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil

ABU DHABI: It’s a new dawn for 50 children around the globe! Their lives will shine brightly,
thanks to the Golden Heart Initiative, a global philanthropic mission launched by Dr. Shamsheer
Vayalil, a healthcare visionary and the Founder and Chairman of Burjeel Holdings.

Started on January 1, 2024, the Initiative, which offered free life-saving heart surgeries to
children with complex congenital heart diseases, has been successfully completed. Envisioned
as Dr. Shamsheer’s heartfelt tribute to the 50 glorious years of ace entrepreneur and
philanthropist M.A. Yusuffali in the UAE, the Initiative focused on children from conflict zones
and underprivileged backgrounds, spanning cultural and geographical boundaries. Dr. Shamsheer
is married to Dr. Shabeena Yusuffali, the eldest daughter of Mr. Yusuffali.

Hamza Islam after undergoing a life-changing surgery as part of the Golden Heart Initiative at a hospital in Cairo, Egypt

Spearheaded by experts, the surgeries were performed at public and private hospitals in Tunisia,
Egypt, and India. Children from conflict zones such as Senegal, Libya, and Tunisia, and
underprivileged families from Egypt and India were the beneficiaries of the Initiative that
concluded within three months. Navigating stringent travel restrictions posed challenges in
bringing the children from conflict zones to hospitals for their much-needed surgeries. Special
travel permissions had to be obtained through various agencies to support these families. In
India, the Initiative collaborated with government departments to offer high-cost life-saving
surgeries that are not covered under existing schemes.

Renewing Hope with Golden Heart Initiative

Children aged two months and upward with complex congenital heart diseases such as severe
aortic stenosis, a condition where the aortic valve narrows disrupting the normal flow of blood;
Tetralogy of Fallot, a condition that affects normal blood flow through the heart; and
atrioventricular (AV) canal defect, where a hole in the wall separates the heart’s chambers
causing problems with the heart valves, were some of the Initiative’s recipients.
Commenting on the project, Dr. Tarig Ali Elhassan, a renowned cardiac surgeon who headed the
medical assessment board of the Initiative, said, “We feel proud to support these children in the
time of their need with world-class treatment. After announcing the Initiative, we received
numerous requests from different parts of the world. We thoroughly reviewed each medical
record and shortlisted the candidates based on the severity of their condition and the guidelines
of the Initiative. Later, we brought together global experts in the field to perform the surgeries.
We also made arrangements to ease transportation challenges. Everything was done within three
months, which we consider a great feat.”

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Grateful for Golden Heart Initiative

The Golden Heart Initiative turned out to be a unique opportunity for these children to achieve
their dreams of leading a fruitful life. Most of them were unable to undergo the surgery earlier
due to several reasons such as high expense and lack of proper facilities. The families of these
children are grateful and have thanked the organizers of the Initiative for the life-changing

For two-and-a-half-year-old Hamza Islam from Egypt, who has been suffering from Valvular
Stenosis, Initiative came as a blessing. In terms of development, he was far behind children
around his age and suffered breathing and eating difficulties as well.

Eight-year-old Lyal from India had a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), a birth defect where there
is a hole in the wall that separates two chambers of the heart, and VACTERL syndrome. Besides,
she had multiple problems like anal atresia and vertebral issues.

Additionally, severe Pulmonary Artery Hypertension posed a significant risk during her post-operative period. Lyal’s family had knocked on many doors for help until the Golden Heart Initiative provided them solace.

Every year, over one million children are born with congenital heart disease globally. Only, a
tiny percentage of them receive treatment. The Golden Heart Initiative also aims to create
awareness about this. On the impact of the program, Dr. Shamsheer said, “It fills our hearts to
see these children taking baby steps into their healthier lives through the Golden Heart Initiative.
When we launched the Initiative, it received a good response from all quarters. Executing this
mission was not an easy task. With utmost devotion, our doctors and other staff worked towards
the healing of these little ones. The Initiative would not have succeeded without their hard work
and the families that trusted us. We hope this tribute to Mr. Yusuffali will inspire these little ones
to dream big.”

The Golden Heart Initiative has not only touched numerous hearts but also added a new
dimension to philanthropy, commemorating the fifty years of Mr. Yusuffali in the UAE. This
meaningful Initiative has underscored the profound and enduring impact compassion can have on

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