Alexander Needs Heart Surgery

Have you ever heard of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)? Apparently, it’s a congenital heart defect.

diagram of a heartIf you have a defect in your interatrial septum, the tissue that divides the right side of your heart from the left side, your blood can get confused. And if that happens, you end up with blood that goes where it shouldn’t. That’s bad.

In a normal heart, the left ventricle has to produce enough pressure to pump blood throughout the entire body, but the right ventricle has to produce only enough pressure to pump blood to the lungs.

In the case of a large defect, this pressure difference means that blood from the left atrium can flood and enlarge the right side of the heart and, if left untreated, can result in heart failure.

That’s ASD in a nutshell. And this is why I tell you.

smiling boyAlexander is an 8-year-old Kenyan boy who has ASD. He is in the third grade and is the youngest child in a family of five. Because his heart has been pumping deoxygenated blood to his growing body for his entire life, Alexander is smaller than most children his age.

In August 2008, during an evaluation at the child development center, a pediatrician noticed that Alexander has a heart murmur. Follow-up tests in Nairobi identified the birth defect and recommended a cardiac catheterization procedure and open heart surgery.

But Alexander’s parents are peasant farmers, and his mother sells fruit at the market to earn extra income. They survive on $13.70 per month.

$13.70 a month is barely adequate to meet the family’s basic needs, let alone pay for open heart surgery.

At this point, heart failure is a real possibility for Alexander. However, studies have shown that patients with a surgically repaired ASD have an excellent prognosis, particularly when the operation is done before the age of 25.

But Alexander’s family can’t afford the operation. It costs $8,303.

Alexander has been waiting to receive the surgery for several months now, since early December, but he can’t wait any longer. His condition has recently worsened – which made me think of something Amanda suggested back in February.

“I am just kicking around a few ideas here. What if Compassion had a “Spotlight of the Week” – or “Spotlight of the Month?” It could be either a child (medical need?), family, or small community need. It could even be in the area of the global financial crisis, disaster relief, Child Survival Program, or some other facet of Compassion. For example, one week you could highlight the (global food crisis) need of a community in Uganda to have goats or seeds for crops (or both). After the donations have been given, you could easily follow up with a story in the blog to share the results of the giving.”

So, Alexander has a need. And our objective is to give him a normal heart. Can we do this for him?

Make a donation to help pay for Alexander’s surgery. (Update: May 21, 2009 – You did it! And more. You contributed around $10,000. I expect to have the exact amount tomorrow.)

Thank you for loving this child.

As I receive updates on how Alexander is doing, I will share them with you. I can’t promise you updates with any degree of regularity though. I can just promise that there will be a follow-up.

117 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Sarah Lopez March 16, 2012

    Thank you for posting this story and for LOVING MY(OUR) JESUS. To all who are doing so, you bring me so much encouragement. I am praying for the kids out there and I want to help. Please keep going. May Jesus Bless You All!

  2. Amy November 30, 2010

    I found this story and thought “YES! That is similar to what my daughter had”. I am so thankful that Alexander received his needed surgery. If he is anything like my daughter, he was up and going in no time at all. <3

  3. Ceclia August 17, 2010

    Bless his little heart.

    I’m so happy he had a successful surgical procedure. It’s amazing how much the little tiny bodies can take, yet they are the strongest and most pure.

    My best wished to Alexander and his family.


  4. Heather Jackson May 17, 2010

    What a beautiful example of what happens when the Body of Christ comes together to be the hands and feet, reaching out in compassion to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters. Praise God that He equips His church to meet the needs of His people all to His greater glory. Praise God for the wisdom and skill of workers and doctors who recognized a need, worked to meet it, and then treated this child and his family, bringing healing and wholeness and health where it had not been before. How beautiful is the Body of Christ!

  5. Vicki Small April 13, 2010

    Praise God that, through the raising of funds for Alexander’s surgery, the Lord has been liften up; He has received the honor and glory due Him!

    Not to mention that Alexander is able, finally, to be a young boy, again! 🙂

  6. Chris Giovagnoni April 13, 2010

    We just received our final update from the Kenya office about Alexander.

    It says:

    “Alexander’s quality of life has greatly improved. His current physical appearance is quite impressive, once a hard to smile boy, he is now jovial and has brightened up. He is tirelessly assisting his mother with household chores like sweeping the home compound, fetching water and even tilling the farm.

    “Alexander is able to consistently attend the planned programmatic activities and his performance in school has greatly improved. Playing with his friends and schoolmates has never been this good.”

    It also contains a few comments from Alexander’s mother.

    “I was relieved when my son got treatment from India. The worries I used to have disappeared and the family joy, peace and unity have been restored. In addition, the family livelihood has improved since I have more time to trade in the market and work in the farm.

    “Through this experience, I have learned to trust and rely on God since now I know that God will never leave or forsake me. As a family we realized that God is the only answer to our problems and seeking Him more will be of great gain, therefore we began a home based fellowship where we read the Bible and worship God with songs and pray a lot. This has made our faith in God to grow and we go to church more frequently than we used to before.”

  7. Becky September 2, 2009

    Praise God that he is doing well and back home again! It’s great that he has school holidays now to play and regain strength before starting school again. Thanks for keeping us in the loop Chris!

  8. Chris Giovagnoni September 2, 2009

    Here is an update on Alexander from the Compassion Kenya office.

    Master Alexander was brought back into the country from India on 18/08/2009 after a successful surgery.

    The surger was done on 03/08/2009, thereafter; the child was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit for post-operative management.

    He did very well and was transferred to the ward on the fourth post-operative day; the sutures were removed on the seventh post-operative day and he was later discharged on 17/08/2009.

    Post-operative investigations similar to the ones done pre-operatively (except for cardiac catheterization) were repeated.

    Currently, the child is on medication as prescribed by the surgeon and is for follow-up locally.

    He is stable and still on school holiday as our schools are yet to resume.

  9. Kristen August 25, 2009

    Is it too early for an update? I can’t wait to hear that Alexander is back home and recovering!

  10. Judith Tremblay August 7, 2009

    That’s wonderful news!

  11. Vicki Small August 6, 2009

    Praise the Lord!

  12. Irene August 6, 2009

    YAY! To think that Alex’s life has been saved because of God’s provision through the Saints is … comforting! 😀

  13. Caitlin August 6, 2009

    amazing! (apparently my one word comment is too short, so this parenthesis comment should make it qualify)

  14. Chris Giovagnoni August 6, 2009

    I received this update from our Kenya office this morning:

    We would like to gladly report that Alexander traveled to India on 28/07/2009.

    Preoperative tests were carried out and the reports reaching us are that he went through a successful surgery yesterday.

    As of today, he is still in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where he had been taken for immediate post-operative management and he is reported to be in a stable condition. He is fully awake and even able to sit.

    We give God all the glory and please pray for the boy.

  15. Chris Giovagnoni July 13, 2009

    @T Clarke – I asked the field for an update on July 7. I have not heard back yet. I will post a comment update as soon as I get a reply. Thanks for keeping me focused. 🙂

  16. T Clarke July 12, 2009

    Is there any update on the pending surgery? Are funds still needed?

  17. Dwight June 16, 2009

    Samaritans purse has a ministry giving needy kids heart surgery. They have done a wonderful 30 minute program on the process. The show is hosted by Billy Graham’s granddaughter, the show is on the web sight listed above.

  18. Judith Tremblay June 16, 2009

    @Vicki Small – Ya know, you just might be right. I think God likes to surprise us like that–to give us little reminders that a) he provides for what we need, b) he often gives us more than we think we need, and c) he knows what’s coming!

  19. Vicki Small June 16, 2009

    If I were a betting person, I’d lay odds that, with the need for the travel and superduper equipment, the full amount of money that was raised from this blog may turn out to have been what is needed. As in, God would know how much it was really going to take. If so, I hope it’s all still available to Alexander!

  20. Mary June 16, 2009

    Thank for keeping us up to date!

  21. Chris Giovagnoni June 16, 2009

    The results of the diagnostic cardiac catheterization require a more complex heart and lung machine to support Alexander during his surgery. That machine isn’t available in Kenya, so the surgery will have to be performed in India – at the MIOT Cardiac Centre.

    The exact date of the surgery hasn’t been set yet. The Compassion Kenya office is discussing this with the hospital and is also processing all the necessary travel documents for Alexander.

  22. Mary June 3, 2009

    Yay! I’m SO thankful that the goal was met! Yay! I pray that the cath procedure will go well and that he will recover quickly.

    Thank you Compassion staff. I wish you were located in the bay area so I can come work for you. =)


  23. Chris Giovagnoni June 3, 2009

    Alexander will undergo a diagnostic cardiac catheterization on June 9.

    What’s diagnostic cardiac catheterization? Glad you asked.

    ”Diagnostic cardiac catheterization is the process of introducing, under local anesthesia, hollow plastic tubes 2 to 3 mm in diameter called catheters into veins and/or arteries in the neck, leg, or arm, from which they are advanced to the right and/or left sides of the heart. Once the catheters are positioned in the various heart chambers or blood vessels, the pressure of the blood in various chambers of the heart can be measured, blood samples can be taken, and dye (radiographic contrast material) can be injected (a process called angiography) to allow x-ray visualization. Unlike bones, which are easily seen on x-ray, the heart and blood vessels cannot be visualized by x-ray unless they are filled with contrast dye.”

    Why is diagnostic cardiac catheterization done? Again, glad you asked. 🙂

    ”Diagnostic cardiac catheterization can confirm or exclude the presence of a condition that is suspected from a patient’s history, physical examination, and/or evaluation by such noninvasive methods as ECG, chest x-ray, echocardiogram, and exercise test. Diagnostic cardiac catheterization can be used to clarify a confusing or obscure situation in a patient whose clinical findings and noninvasive testing are unclear. Finally, it can confirm a suspected abnormality in the patient for whom heart surgery is planned and exclude associated abnormalities that might require the surgeon’s attention.”

    Quotes are from Richard A. Lange, MD; L. David Hillis, MD, from the Department of Internal Medicine (Cardiovascular Division), the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.

  24. Chris Giovagnoni May 28, 2009

    Hello everyone.

    Here is the final and official amount donated by you to Alexander’s heart surgery . . .

    drum roll please . . .


    Everything above the $8,303 needed for Alexander’s surgery will be used to meet the critical medical needs of other children through our Medical Assistance Fund.

    The number is lower than I originally mentioned (@Chris Giovagnoni) because I misunderstood the tracking report I read. I apologize for that and for the delay in getting this final number to you.

    Again, thank you for everything you did here and for what you do everyday on behalf of the children you support and love.

  25. Sara Benson May 26, 2009

    @Lisa Miles – I agree that having a name to put to the donation is more substantial for me. This is in fact what we are all doing through child sponsorship. Instead of just giving a certain amount every month to a charity, we are getting the help of a charity to reach a specific child. And developing a relationship that means much more than just financial support.

    I love the fact that we have been given the opportunity to donate to a specific need. I would rather be able to pray, “Lord help Alexander’s heart surgery to go well” than just “Lord help all those who are sick.”

    To Chris and all who were behind the scenes on making this happen, “Thank you.”

  26. Mike Stephens May 26, 2009

    @Karen – Karen,

    you can still donate!!!!!!!!

  27. Mike Stephens May 26, 2009

    It’s easy to help. As we’ve seen with Alexander!

  28. Mike Stephens May 26, 2009

    @Lisa Miles – I agree Lisa, however as you probably know better than me we do live in a world where we help each other, but many are not helped.

  29. Lisa Miles May 25, 2009

    I came over here today to do my part for little Alexander and almost fell off my chair when I saw that the amount needed has been raised! That’s awesome!

    I hope that Compassion will offer other opportunities to help individuals, as the need arises — and that God will guide us to those who would be best served in this way.

    In my community, we do this kind of thing all the time. Fundraisers for families whose children are ill, whose homes have been destroyed by natural disasters, who have been in accidents. I like the idea of doing it through Compassion, as well, because that’s what truly makes us a global community. When someone has a need, you’re there for them. Doesn’t matter how many miles separate you. That’s the kind of world I want to live in.

  30. Caitlin May 22, 2009

    @Chris Giovagnoni – It would be nice to be bale to send a handwritten card, if that is possible.

  31. Chris Giovagnoni May 22, 2009

    @Cheryl J – I received the encouraging note that you sent to Alexander via email. Thank you.

    We certainly wouldn’t be able to send a gift, like a stuffed animal, to Alexander because that runs into the same issues that prevent sponsors from sending gifts like that to their own sponsored children.

    If there is enough interest in sending cards and small items, such as what can be included in a letter sent to a sponsored child, I can look into how we might handle that in this situation. Let me know.

  32. Chris Giovagnoni May 22, 2009

    This is not the final number because we’re actually still receiving donations, but so far the total is $11,603.

    @Kelly Creason – Everything above the $8,303 needed is placed in to the Medical Assistance Fund.

  33. Kelly Creason May 22, 2009

    Blessed be the Lord God Almighty who supplied this young boy’s need!

    Will any excess be put into the Medical Assistance Fund or roll over to the next “Spotlight of the Month” need?

  34. Mike Stephens May 21, 2009



    At the end of the day we cannot know every little thing, but that is why I send family gifts so I know my sponsor kids are “getting” something for sure. They usually send a picture of what they received but I am steadily realizing the profound wealth of the intangible. I think I value my sponsored child’s prayers the most b/c I believe they are authentic as are mine. I do not care about financial integrity in terms of why I chose to get invovled with Compassion, I simply saw them as trying to help and throw TRUTH through God’s Word and practical acts of kindness in the general direction of those who need help. I like how I see Jesus’ and God’s name everywhere with Compassion and bible verses. It is important to model Godly practices being about God but I like Compassion b/c I agree with the bible and Compassion has a lot of bible verses which I like. There is more to it than that, but they are a tunnel for me so to speak to allow me to go to places and help people that often desperately need it when otherwise I probably would not be able to without Compassion. I do not think I would be involved with Compassion if they did not have the opportunity to visit, which is AMAZING b/c then you don’t have to listen to your family and friends’ suppositions about Compassion and helping others you can TELL them HOW IT IS ;)…at least on your short trip.

    I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for YOU!!!”


  35. Cheryl J May 21, 2009

    I would like to see comments, but also a card or better yet, a stuffed animal. Something tangible. I guess comments are tangible, but I think you know what I mean. Little kids undergoing surgery, even if it is long-awaited, go through a lot of stress. I would like to see him have something that would put a big smile on his face. @Chris Giovagnoni

  36. Karen May 21, 2009

    Amazing!!!!!! I hesitated on donating and missed the blessing 🙁 I guess I’ll have to be quicker on the draw next time.

  37. Caitlin May 21, 2009

    @Chris Giovagnoni – yay!

  38. Chris Giovagnoni May 21, 2009

    @Kristen – That’s what it has become the past two days. 🙂 But rest assured, I’m getting other stuff done too.

  39. Kristen May 21, 2009

    Chris – is your job just to sit and monitor the blog comments all day?!? I’m amazed at your quick responses all over the place! You rock!

  40. Chris Giovagnoni May 21, 2009

    @Caitlin – Yes. There are two ways to do it.

    I was initially thinking people could write encouraging notes as blog comments, but it’s probably best to submit your “notes” of encouragement through the contact us form.

    I will collect them and will have them delivered to Alex.

  41. Caitlin May 21, 2009

    *correction write

  42. Caitlin May 21, 2009

    @Chris Giovagnoni – Are you suggesting “Notes” we could right to forward to him? I hope you are!

  43. Chris Giovagnoni May 21, 2009

    @Judith Tremblay – The $8,303 included hospital and home post-op checkups.

    Everything above $8,303 will be added to the Medical Assistance Fund and used to meet the critical medical needs of other Compassion kids – assuming each need is below $5,000. 🙂

    Originally Posted By Chris Giovagnoni @Cheryl J – “When a medical need arises that is more than $5,000, we attempt to raise the money because if the money cannot be raised the child development center must pay for the need by using money that was budgeted specifically for other needs.

    If that money isn’t replaced, then the center will do without whatever it was they pulled the money from.

  44. Chris Giovagnoni May 21, 2009

    @Cheryl J – What did you have in mind? Anything specific?

    Everyone could love on him here, and we can have our country office “share the love” with him. 🙂

  45. Chris Giovagnoni May 21, 2009

    @Wyatt Roberts – Thank you Wyatt.

    I’m glad you felt comfortable raising the subject here. Your perspective is an important one. God uses our histories to help each other. 🙂

  46. Cheryl J May 21, 2009

    Is there some way we can send our love and greetings to Alex to let him know we are praying for him and so excited to be a part of getting this surgery taken care of for him? I wish I could send him a bouquet of balloons!!!

  47. Wyatt Roberts May 21, 2009

    Chris, my dear brother…

    I hope you understand that I don’t think you were trying to mislead anyone. It may be that, because of my history, I’m just overly sensitive on this issue. I don’t know.

    In any case, I appreciate your clarification and am thankful the goal was met.

    BTW, I sure don’t think you put a “thorn in my side.” Thank you for all your hard work…God bless you!

  48. Judith Tremblay May 21, 2009

    That’s an amazing amount to be raised in only three days!

    I’m wondering…the cost of the surgery was listed at being just over $8,000. If we raised more than that in an effort to raise money specifically for Alexander’s surgery, will the remainder be used for post-op checkups, medicine, etc? or will the remainder be diverted to the Medical Relief Fund?

  49. Chris Giovagnoni May 21, 2009

    Not an “official” total yet. I won’t have that until tomorrow.

    But it’s looking to be around $10,000.

  50. Cheryl J May 21, 2009

    So… we have a total yet? 🙂

  51. Kristen May 21, 2009

    Praise God! I love a forum where we can discuss our concerns in a civilized way without anyone resorting to the nastiness that we tend to see in debates these days. Wyatt and Chris, you are both humble servants, forthright enough to voice concerns and appreciate each others viewpoints and I am so encouraged to see it.
    To my friends who are not associated with Compassion, this kind of a plea does seem a little shady. I had one of them ask me “what are you going to do when they call you and say your sponsored child needs $10,000 for a surgery and they’re going to die if you don’t pay it?” my response was that Compassion would never do that. After being involved for only 2 months and spending hours reading these blogs I have full faith in the integrity and mission of this organization. Keep up the good work!!

  52. Chris Giovagnoni May 21, 2009

    And it appears that what I didn’t say in my previous reply is that I’m sorry for upsetting you and causing confusion.

    Please accept my apologies for not saying that before and for creating the situation that required clarification and an apology. I am sorry.

  53. Chris Giovagnoni May 21, 2009

    Originally Posted By Wyatt Roberts“… it *really* bothers me when I read an appeal that is even remotely disingenuous or seems to be designed to lead the reader to a conclusion that really isn’t the truth. And, in my opinion, this, if it doesn’t qualify, would come very close.”

    @Wyatt Roberts

    I did not design or intentionally shape my words to lead anyone to the conclusion you came to. However, I do see how you arrived at it.

    The message that is received from any piece of communication, written or spoken, is often in what is not said, rather than what is said.

    It is not a leap to draw the conclusion you came to, and if you felt that way, I’m sure others may have too.

    This blog is a place of authenticity, transparency and sincerity; which seems to be the opposite of what you experienced.

    I’m grateful that you rose above the thorn I placed in your side and made a donation, as well as encouraging others to do so. Thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt, while at the same time asking for accountability.

  54. sandy and jeff May 21, 2009

    ok, i wrote that last message before reading this page…glad you have the money, but still contact, cbn, maybe they can pay the surgery and use the money collected for helping the family and his lifelong medicines and care..sandy

  55. sandy and jeff May 21, 2009

    @Chris Giovagnoni – i am also a member of the “cbn 700 club” if you contact them in the area where alexander lives, they will pay for his surgery..1800-759-0700 or in america, they have a group called “operation blessing” and they are all over the world….sandy

  56. Wyatt Roberts May 20, 2009

    @Vicki – You don’t need to apologize for anything. I did get the impression you worked for Compassion, but that’s no big deal. I’m glad you feel such an affinity for them.

    I will say, however, that I remain concerned about the way the letter seems to imply that if the money isn’t raised, then Alexander may die. I had a job as the head of a non-profit once, and I had to write fund-raising letters every month. There was always a fine line to walk between communicating a need and not sounding like an alarmist, as is the sky was falling. The letter says:

    “But Alexander’s parents are peasant farmers…They survive on $13.70 per month [which is] barely adequate to meet the family’s basic needs, let alone pay for open heart surgery. So, Alexander has a need. And our objective is to give him a normal heart. Can we do this for him?”

    I’m sorry to sound so cynical, but that seems (to me, at least) to present quite a different scenario that the followup comment posted by Chris, the author, who said:

    “If no one gave any money, Alexander would still get his surgery. The surgery gets paid for through our Complementary Interventions program, which everyone donating is participating in.”

    Listen, I ABSOLUTELY AGREE 100% in personalizing an appeal, helping donors put a face and a name with the money they contribute. I was moved by Alexander’s story, posted it on my facebook profile, and made a contribution as well. However, it *really* bothers me when I read an appeal that is even remotely disingenuous or seems to be designed to lead the reader to a conclusion that really isn’t the truth. And, in my opinion, this, if it doesn’t qualify, would come very close.

    Would it not have been easy enough to say something like “Your generous support of Compassion allows us to help children like Alexander, who needs a heart operation, which costs $8,300. We maintain an account specifically to meet the medical needs of children like this…

    And so on. Let me reiterate, My wife and I greatly appreciate the work Compassion is doing. Their work on behalf of the poor and needy is very close to my heart. I also realize how easy it is to become so zealous in our promotion of a cause we believe in, that we find ourselves not being as careful as we should when we ask people to help.

    As to your last question, no, I don’t know anything about “The Advocates Network.” (We have five kids, ages 2-9, all homeschooled, so we stay fairly busy 🙂

  57. Mike Stephens May 20, 2009

    @Vicki Small

    Thank you Vicki, Thank you Vicki , Thank you Vicki I hope it is alright that I got 3 blessings!!!!!!!

  58. Mike Stephens May 20, 2009

    @Wyatt Roberts


    I like how you asked a good question.

    People are dying and it could easily be preventable. It is amazing to me how we can make a huge difference. The way I see Alexander’s situation is yes I don’t doubt that Compassion could pay for the need, but I am glad I was able to give some CA$H this time and help out. Even if I had $100 Trillion dollars I could easily give it all out and many needs would still be left out. There is so much money in the world there is more than enough to go around a few times. Compassion isn’t limitless in funds obviously, so I see the post as simply saying “Can you help us out a little?” However my sponsor child’s mom did die of Typhoid fever I was told in a letter and another letter from Compassion, and I don’t doubt that I could have sent a family gift so they could have gotten some antibiotics or whatever helps get rid of Typhoid fever. What is so ironic is I sent a family gift I think before I knew the information but she may have died months before I was told in the letters. Either way, after visiting Nicaragua last year I am more than willing to try and help how I am able. Life is too short not to help. It’s even shorter without help. Wyatt I didn’t sense Compassion was saying give or Alexander dies. But now that you mention it that is exactly right!!!!!!! If someone or someone’s don’t give, Alexander will probably die. Just like I would die without water for a few days. I don’t doubt Compassion would step in if we didn’t give. But if someone(s) didn’t give unless a doctor performed the operation for free or very cheap it sounds like he would die. But again Compassion would be able to cover it like you mentioned and I realized that before I gave. However, for whatever reason they were asking for CASH and I missed out on the Cycle Van Party and I wanted to be able to say I was a part of helping Alexander get this surgery so he can pursue his career as a professional athlete if he so chooses 😉 But even seeing some of the poor and down and out people in Nicaragua made me realize if Compassion is asking, I am happy to help how I am able. In the future I may choose not to help but it was fairly effortless this time. $60 was not a lot but it was one little sliver of the pie to help pay the price needed for Alexander’s surgery. And I wouldn’t want to die, not before I won a few triathlons at least 😉

    I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your axniety on Him because He cares for YOU!!!”

  59. Jill Foley May 20, 2009

    Wow…amazing! I totally missed this as I was out of town. Seems like the money was raised very quickly. Praise God!

  60. Vicki Small May 20, 2009

    @Wyatt Roberts – Oh, Wyatt, I owe you an apology! I do tend to use “we” a lot, when I’m talking about Compassion, because it is so much a part of me and my life. However, I probably gave you the impression that I am employed by Compassion, and I am not. I am a sponsor, like you, and a volunteer/member of the Advocates Network.

    Have you considered joining the Network?

  61. Jill A May 20, 2009

    Just read that the goal was met…praise the Lord!!

  62. Wyatt Roberts May 20, 2009


    You’re correct. I didn’t read all the comments before I wrote — and I should have. I do love you guys and, of course, remain very supportive of Compassion. Thank you for giving me another opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

  63. Nicole May 20, 2009

    Just saw the update via Facebook…So glad to hear that the goal has been met!!

  64. Vicki Small May 20, 2009

    Fantastic! Thank you, Lord, for enabling all who contributed to do so, and bless each one!

  65. Vicki Small May 20, 2009

    Wyatt, I know there are a lot of comments and maybe you don’t have time to peruse them all. But if you would take a minute to read Chris’s explanation (#18), it might help.

    I’m sure everyone on here appreciates your support of Compassion. You probably also know how the demands on Compassion’s resources have ballooned, this past year, what with the dramatic rises in food costs and the impact disasters on several countries. With the majority of the field-partner countries having begged for millions more in order to feed the children at the center, Compassion cannot be said to have extra cash for those medical needs that exceed $5,000. Until yesterday, I wasn’t aware of that limit on that fund, but it makes sense to me that they would have to have a limit, so that they wouldn’t spend huge amounts to help one child and leave others, just as deserving, to go without help.

    I’ve gone through all of that, realizing you might now be thoroughly ticked at me, to say please don’t blame Compassion. The decisions they face every day in the effort to do what needs to be done and to meet all the needs they can would send most of us home in tears, many days; call it a hunch.

    Bless you for your heart for these children!

  66. Chris Giovagnoni May 20, 2009

    Hello everyone!

    You’ve done it! On top of 1 million sponsored children, we’ve reached our goal for Alexander’s surgery.

    Thank you sooo much! You are amazing!

    @Adrienne McWithey – I’m itching to report a total, but I need to wait until the end of day processing occurs, to make sure the amount I quote is accurate. But we have surpassed the $8,303 need.

  67. Chris Giovagnoni May 20, 2009

    @Wyatt Roberts

    Originally Posted By Wyatt Roberts . . . You’re giving people the impression that unless they contribute, this little boy is going to die. Is that true?)

    What is true is that Alexander needs heart surgery and he has been waiting for the surgery since December. His condition has recently worsened, meaning the surgery has to occur sooner rather than later.

    We saw Alexander’s need as something our blog readers, Twitter followers and Facebook fans would connect with. Alexander offers a visible and relational connection to the ministry that we all love. Donating an amount to his surgery fund is different than donating an amount to a general fund like Medical Assistance or Disaster Relief. Alexander is personal. He represents why we do what we do.

    If no one gave any money, Alexander would still get his surgery. The surgery gets paid for through our Complementary Interventions program, which everyone donating is participating in.

    Earlier, I shared with CherylJ that,

    Originally Posted By Chris Giovagnoni @Cheryl J – . . . When a medical need arises that is more than $5,000, we attempt to raise the money because if the money cannot be raised the child development center must pay for the need by using money that was budgeted specifically for other needs.

    If that money isn’t replaced, then the center will do without whatever it was they pulled the money from. That is what we’re trying to prevent.

  68. Wyatt Roberts May 20, 2009

    I’m sorry, but I simply do *NOT* understand this. With an annual budget of hundreds of millions of dollars, why in the WORLD would this little boy have to wait for heart surgery? Are you suggesting that as serious as Alexander’s condition apparently was, CI couldn’t find an extra $8,200 for the operation? Frankly, I find that hard to believe. (And before you blast me, you should know that my family supports CI and are the contacts at our church for Compassion Sunday. If you feel this comment is too negative to post, I understand. Still, I would very much appreciate a response. You’re giving people the impression that unless they contribute, this little boy is going to die. Is that true?)

  69. Adrienne McWithey May 20, 2009

    Chris I think we are all itching for a total raised so far!!! I can’t help but be excited seeing God move through His people…woo hoo!

  70. GayLynn Johnson May 20, 2009

    United we can do something specific and magnificent.
    Looking forward to progress reports.

  71. Sara Benson May 20, 2009

    I have it as my facebook status and hopefully we will get more donations.

    Do you have the most recent total?

  72. Janelle May 20, 2009

    Thanks for putting this on Facebook, I would have missed it otherwise!

  73. Adrienne McWithey May 20, 2009

    I want to encourage all of you to give, if you have $1 or $100 you can give…little is much when God is in it!

    “It is not in how much you do, but the love with which you do it”

    ~ Mother Teresa

  74. Adrienne McWithey May 20, 2009

    Praise the Lord!!! I have been feeling burdened by The Holy Spirit lately to do more, to be a blessing to others…and I have been opened up to several new and different ways I can make a difference in the name of Jesus! None of the glory is mine, the Lord has provided…I just follow His leading!

  75. Mike Stephens May 20, 2009

    are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet? 😉

  76. Chris Giovagnoni May 20, 2009

    @Tamm – If you click on the blue “Make a donation” text in the post, it will take you to the page where you can make a contribution.

    Or you can go directly to and donate.

  77. Tamm May 20, 2009

    I am brand new here. I want to donate but don’t know what I need to do? Can someone tell me how? I also added Alexander to our prayer chain at church.

  78. Tammie G May 19, 2009

    great news-. i have posted on facebook and twiiter plus donated and sent in a gift match w/ my company.

  79. Mike Stephens May 19, 2009

    I am glad I finally get to be a part of this as I missed out on the cycle van Party 😉

  80. Mike Stephens May 19, 2009

    That’s more than some Sponsor Tours!!! Yay!!!!!!!

  81. Rhonda Kemp May 19, 2009

    Thanks for the opportunity to help, Chris. Please keep us posted!

  82. Cissy May 19, 2009

    Awesome news, Chris! I donated and posted a link on my Facebook page yesterday. I love seeing the total grow!

  83. Chris Giovagnoni May 19, 2009

    Hi y’all. You’ve contributed $3,450 so far.

  84. Mike Stephens May 19, 2009

    hahaha!!!!!!!! I didn’t realize it was so easy!!!!!!! Well maybe it just looks easy from my end as I see that the $8,303 will be raised shortly here. Great to see!!!!!!!

    I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for YOU!!!”

  85. Saph @ Walk With Me May 19, 2009

    I blogged it, and put it on FB!

  86. Vicki Small May 19, 2009

    Just posted a link to this post on my blog. I look forward to hearing that the amount has been raised in short order, and that Alexander is ready for a new start in life!

  87. Chris Giovagnoni May 19, 2009

    @Stacey – Hopefully we’ll reach $8,303 in the next day or two. The link definitely helps. Thank you.

  88. Stacey May 19, 2009

    Wow! How long will you be raising money? I want to donate something too but I’m a student at the moment so the funds are kind of tight. But in a month or so, I should be better prepared. In the meantime, I’ll put a link to this post on my blog. It’s fairly new so I don’t know that a lot of folks will see it. But, if one person sees it, maybe they’ll be moved to help. I’ll be praying that the money is raised for Alexander’s heart surgery speedily!

  89. Chris Giovagnoni May 19, 2009

    @Alan – Thank you very much! We’re at $2,400 right now.

  90. Alan May 19, 2009

    I donated, and have posted it on my facebook as well as sent emails to about 50 family members and friends.

  91. Heather May 19, 2009

    My oldest son had heart surgery about 14 years ago when he was 6 weeks old (coarctation of the lower aorta). We were so blessed to have a wonderful pediatric surgeon whose name is Dr. Alexander. Thank you for an opportunity to help this beautiful boy!

  92. Amy Wallace May 19, 2009

    I’m going to post it on Facebook too! I have 338 friends on there, so at least one person should be able to help!

  93. Cheryl J May 19, 2009

    I love your idea, Caitlin. I posted it on facebook.

  94. Caitlin May 19, 2009

    I’m having a late night thought here, so if I wake up in the morning and it turns out it wasn’t brilliant, I blame sleep deprivation. This may take more work than it would be fruitful, I don’t know. So here it goes, shoot it down as you please, I promise not to weep in public 😉 .

    If I could, I would have donated the entire amount, but as it turns out, I didn’t manage to find a winning lotto ticket in my pocket today, and I’ve already given all that I can. I am sure a lot of us feel this way. So here’s the thought: quantity. I would love to get the word out by posting something on face book, like a widget. Something, simple, maybe just a picture of Alex and a simple, catchy phrase like “Alex needs a heart, click to find out what you can do” and have the widget link to this blog, so that people outside of the compassion blog have an opportunity not only to donate to Alex, but to get to know more about what compassion does.

    I already have a “Sponsor Me” widget up on my social sites, but sometimes I think that people are impersonal/numb to it. I would love a “Alexander needs a life saving surgery” widget.

    As for that lottery ticket, I’ll check my pocket again tomorrow, but I think you have to buy one in the first place in order to win.

  95. Chris Giovagnoni May 18, 2009

    @Tina – The surgery will be performed in Nairobi.

  96. Tina May 18, 2009

    I think it’s a great idea to share about the special needs of particular Compassion children like this. I am happy to be able to help – can only give a little right now, but I will pray a lot! 🙂 I’ll be looking forward to the update.

    Just curious – where would the surgery be performed? Are there hospitals in Kenya that can deal with this kind of thing?

  97. Mike Stephens May 18, 2009

    We are almost 10% and this is just the first day!!!

  98. Amanda May 18, 2009


    I am excited that we will be able to help Alexander…and can’t wait to hear the updates! I am contributing what I can…it isn’t as much as I would like, but if we all pitch in what we can I am sure it will make a huge difference in the life of this precious little boy! God bless!

  99. Juli Jarvis May 18, 2009

    I met the same boy in the DR and also have a photo of him with his mother. Amazing story! @Michael

  100. Chris Giovagnoni May 18, 2009

    So far you have donated $807. Thank you very much.

  101. Caitlin May 18, 2009

    Thanks for the immediate response! If this were a restaurant, you would’ve just boosted your tip 😀

  102. Chris Giovagnoni May 18, 2009

    Compassion U.K. has let the sponsor know about Alexander’s condition.

  103. Caitlin May 18, 2009

    Sweet, let’s do it! Does his sponsor know?

  104. Sara Benson May 18, 2009

    Thank you so much for going forward with Amanda’s idea in this way!

    I am glad that you seek to keep up the one-to-one relationship with our kids and still give us the opportunity to help out with large needs and have a face to put to our donations.

    I have been to Kenya and I got to see Compassion’s work there. I will be praying for Alexander.

  105. Cissy May 18, 2009

    I can’t wait to hear of Alexander’s successful surgery!

  106. Michael May 18, 2009

    Great idea Amanda! This worked well to buy a delivery bike for a family in Indonesia (?) a while back. I love the idea.

    I met a boy in the Dominican Republic who’d had a heart defect. He had been flown to Michigan for his surgery, and is now well because of it. He was very excited to have a photo taken of his scar.

  107. Judith Tremblay May 18, 2009

    @Chris Giovagnoni – Thanks for the clarification. I knew about the medical fund, but I didn’t know there was the $5,000 limit per case.

  108. Chris Giovagnoni May 18, 2009

    @Cheryl J – Yes. The specific Complementary Intervention (CIV) that you’re thinking of is the Medical Assistance Fund.

    That CIV pays for medical needs that are less than $5,000. It hasn’t been depleted. 🙂

    When a medical need arises that is more than $5,000, we attempt to raise the money because if the money cannot be raised the child development center must pay for the need by using money that was budgeted specifically for other needs.

    If that money isn’t replaced, then the center will do without whatever it was they pulled the money from. That is what we’re trying to prevent.

  109. Judith Tremblay May 18, 2009

    @Cheryl J – Yes, there is the medical intervention fund. The idea was originally suggested to Chris that we occasionally get an individual person/need to contribute to, in order that we can be reminded that–through contributing to these funds–we are giving to real people with real needs. I can’t speak for everyone of course, but I think it’s very easy to forget, and to become detached from it all. This is a way to keep it from being just a “charitable donation” to someone, somewhere…

  110. Mike Stephens May 18, 2009

    It’s nice to be able to say, “I put my money where my mouth was!!!”

  111. Mike Stephens May 18, 2009

    Well I was blessed $4 more b/c there was not enough change at the front desk for $60 to make it $56 so now, Alexander’s surgery cost is down to $8,303-60= $8,240!!!!!!!

    I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for YOU!!!”

  112. Lindy May 18, 2009

    We are praying and want to help with the cost, too! Thanks for letting us know about Alexander’s need!

  113. Cheryl J May 18, 2009

    I am happy to donate to this and love the idea of the “spotlight” of the week or month. But doesn’t Compassion have a fund that covers these types of medical needs? Has there been just too many needs and depleted the fund?

  114. Amy Wallace May 18, 2009

    I’ll be praying for him!

  115. Judith Tremblay May 18, 2009

    Thanks for the opportunity, Chris! I’ll see what I can do for Alexander–even if it’s “just” pray!

  116. Mike Stephens May 18, 2009

    I work best with cash, I will drop off $56 to the front desk at the GMC, that way you only need 147 more people to donate and soon I pray that I will be reading about Alexander’s professional athletic career in the years ahead!!!!!!!

    I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for YOU!!!”

  117. Amy May 18, 2009

    Thank you for letting us know of Alexander’s need and giving us a way to help! I think this is a great idea.

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