Ugandan children get new lease on life at D.C. hospital

Dr. Charlie Berul works on a patient in the cardiac cath lab at Children's National Medical Center. (WTOP/Paula Wolfson)
Dr. Berul poses with Myron and his mother, Deborah Aguno before a procedure. (Courtesy Dr. Berul)
The heart monitor screen during a procedure. (WTOP/Paula Wolfson)
An image of the inside of Myron's chest. The black lines or "branches" are the catheters. (WTOP/Paula Wolfson)
Marsha Duckwitz hosts children and their moms at her Northern Virginia home. Here she sits with Deborah while they wait for Myron to be taken to his room after the procedure. (WTOP/Paula Wolfson)
Myron's mother, Deborah Aguno, meets with Dr. Berul after surgery. (WTOP/Paula Wolfson)
Darwin and Dr. Sable outside Darwin's room at Children's National Medical Center. (WTOP/Paula Wolfson)
Darwin stands in the hallway outside his room at Children's National Medical Center. (WTOP/Paula Wolfson)

Paula Wolfson,

WASHINGTON – Twelve-year-old Darwin Wafoymungu could never do the simple things most boys his age could do.

But now, he’s a kid with a plan.

“I want to play,” Darwin says.

Darwin’s mom, Betty Acken, looks around his room at Children’s National Medical Center as if she’s landed in another world. They’ve traveled from a village in Uganda to Washington, D.C. where a group of strangers fixed her son’s heart.

Acken whispers to an interpreter and smiles.

“She feels so grateful and so happy about everything,” says the interpreter. “He is a miracle child and a miracle boy!”

Darwin is one of two Ugandan children currently at the D.C. hospital for treatment, part of a volunteer effort by doctors at Children’s to improve pediatric Samaritan’s Purse volunteer Marsha Duckwitz hosted the two families at her Sterling, Va. home during their month-long stay, and was a constant presence at the hospital.

“I feel honored just to be a pat of it,” Duckwitz says. “These guys are doing fantastic things … and it is just amazing to see these miracles happen.”

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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