A Heartbeat Away follows Save a Child’s Heart pediatric cardiologist Dr. Akiva Tamir to Africa on a medical screening mission to find children in need of lifesaving heart surgery. (photo from Save a Child’s Heart Canada)
Jewish Independent readers can win two tickets to the Nov. 2 Vancouver premiére of the documentary A Heartbeat Away at Scotiabank Theatre. Simply email [email protected] by Wednesday, Oct. 25, 5 p.m., to be entered in a draw. The winner will be contacted.
A Heartbeat Away, by Tal Barda and Noam Pinchas, follows Save a Child’s Heart pediatric cardiologist Dr. Akiva Tamir to Africa on a medical screening mission to find children in need of lifesaving heart surgery – surgery that is not accessible in Tanzania, where, every day, five children die from heart disorders and rheumatic heart disease. In the documentary, Tamir and his team examine hundreds of children, although only a handful can receive the treatment that will save their lives. When 6-year-old Julius arrives at the clinic in critical condition, Tamir is forced to choose whether to operate on the child, who has very little chance of surviving. Tamir and his team take viewers on an emotional rollercoaster, as they deal with the most serious question of who to treat. The experienced physicians find it hard to detach from the emotional bond they share with their small patients.
The documentary focuses on the challenges of receiving adequate health care in developing countries, and the challenges providers face when so many are in need – how do they pick who to treat?
According to Marni Brinder Byk, executive director, Save a Child’s Heart Canada, “Congenital heart disease is responsible for more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defect. Due to a high prevalence of acquired and congenital pediatric heart disease in developing countries, and a lack of skilled medical personnel dealing in pediatric cardiac care, there are thousands of children in need of cardiac intervention, and hundreds of medical personnel living in developing countries that require advanced training.”
To date, she said, the Israel-based Save a Child’s Heart has “provided care to over 4,400 children from 55 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, South and Central America, and the Middle East.”
In an interview with Eretz Magazine, Barda, who also directed the documentary, said, “The first thing that the documentary film needs to give the viewer is information. However, for me, the next move is touching the individual’s story…. My dream is to have as many people as possible watch this movie. The story comes from a different world, creates a sense of acquaintance and a better way of coping and looking at things…. There is something very powerful in this story, which is happening in the current dire reality of Israel and the world. It is about people who are taking their professional skills and doing something good with them. They go out of their comfort zone and do something for the benefit of the other. These doctors are taking care of all hearts, simply because they are beating hearts.
“The message here is very powerful, in my opinion,” she continued. “The organization is taking care of all children: Israelis, Africans, Palestinians….” To view the official trailer of A Heartbeat Away, visit vimeo.com/151644429.
The Nov. 2 screening event in Vancouver is chaired by Lana Pulver. It starts at 6:30 p.m. with a wine and cheese reception, followed by the screening of the documentary and a question-and-answer period with a panel of experts on pediatric global health and cardiac treatment. Tickets are $36, with all proceeds benefiting Save a Child’s Heart. To purchase tickets or make a donation, click here or call toll-free 1-844-924-9113.