Subject: Timorese children given new lease of life

Also: Timor pair leaves NT with new heart

December 7, 2001, Friday Qld: Timorese children given new lease of life


BODY: Queensland doctors have given a new lease of life to two East Timorese children, who will return home this weekend.

Anna Da Costa, 16, arrived in Brisbane 12 months ago with a life-threatening bone tumour in her left thigh bone.

Orthopaedic surgeon Ian Dickinson and Wesley Hospital staff carried out a series of operations to save her leg and her life.

Four-year-old Augusto Costa arrived in Australia four months ago with a blocked bowel.

He underwent two successful operations by paediatric surgeon Deborah Bailey in the Allamanda Hospital on the Gold Coast.

Bryan Mason, spokesman for the Rotary Overseas Medical Aid for Children Program, said the damage to Augusto's bowel was repaired and his colostomy bag was removed.

"He now has a functional bowel the same as any other child," Mr Mason said.

Augusto and his mother Ana will accompany Anna Da Costa home on Sunday.

Northern Territory News December 7, 2001, Friday

Timor pair leaves NT with new heart


They spoke no English, but the relieved tone of their voices was something parents the world over would understand.

East Timorese parents Arminda Dos Santos and Pascal Suri-Mali flew back to Darwin this week far happier than they were when they first arrived in Australia three months ago.

Their children, 13- year-old Afonso Dos Santos and 14-month-old Leonel Suri-Mali, were flown over for life-saving heart surgery.

The four flew to Melbourne as part of the Rotary Overseas Medical Aid for Children program and underwent surgery at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital.

They were met in Darwin on their way home to East Timor by a deputation from the Territory's 10 Rotary clubs, which all contributed to the life-saving mission.

Leonel's first operation went for more than 11 hours, followed by corrective surgery.

For 13-year-old Afonso, his treatment required three major operations.

Mrs Dos Santos said through an interpreter: "I am so happy, I never thought anyone could help my son."


Mr Suri-Mali said: "We are overwhelmed."

The ROMAC program runs in South-East Asia and has helped 22 children recover from illnesses for which they could not have been treated in their own countries.

Territory ROMAC committee chairman Lyall Wheaton said the average cost of treatment for each child was about $10,000 -- although that includes many donations of flights and voluntary procedures.

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