Hi, my name is Tony.  I want to tell you why the   INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S MEDICAL FOUNDATION (ICMF) means a lot to me.  As you can see by the photo on the above left, I entered this world with a lot of medical  challenges.  By the way, the picture on the right shows me the first time I ever sat up by myself, about 8 - 1/2  months after my life-saving heart reconstruction surgery. (Handsome huh?)

Unfortunately I was born with a heart problem that required evaluation by equipment that was not available in my country of birth.  Shortly after birth the INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S MEDICAL FOUNDATION (ICMF) learned  of my situation and took me into their care.  The ICMF was able to contact a specialist in Pediatric  Cardiology  located in the United States.  This doctor agreed to evaluate my condition. Ms. Ruha'mah Stadtlander, Director  of INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S MEDICAL FOUNDATION and a Plastic Surgeon brought me to the U.S.   

The trip was far from dull!  Though Ms. Ruha'mah had been told that it was safe for me to fly, during the long over the ocean journey, at 35,000 feet my condition rapidly deteriorarated.  I actually had cardic failure three times!   Ms. Ruha'mah says she doesn't remember praying so hard in her life! She refuses to say what the Plastic Surgeon had to say, only that he was "not" praying.  He later told her to "never" ask him to help her in this way "ever" again. When the aircraft landed I was rushed to the nearest Hospital Emergency Room.

After an echocardiogram, Ms. Ruha'mah was given a lot of bad news.  She was told that I was a heart transplant  candidate. Being an "alien," even if there 'were' a donor, I did not qualify to receive it.  Ms. Ruha'mah was then told that the only other alternative would be massive heart reconstruction. The prognosis was dark:

        * My heart defect was massive.
        * I had a one percent chance of surviving   surgery.
        * If I lived through the first surgery, I would  require   6  more.
        * I could die during any one of those surgeries.
        * I would need to be tube fed for my first five years.
        * All of my days on earth would be lived as a vegetable

The Head Cardiologist said Ms. Ruha'mah would be given a bag of milk and some medicine and then was "ordered" to get on the plane the next day and return me to my country of birth.  Ms. Ruha'mah was instructed to take out my nasal feeding tube upon arrival and let me live out my FINAL (1 to 3) days.  Ms. Ruha'mah would not hear of that and refused to give up!  The doctor did not like it at all when Ms. Ruha'mah said that she felt Almighty God had put me across her path and that she believed she was supposed to do all that she "could"  do to save my life and let Almighty God do what she could "not" do.  To return me back to the land of my birth without even "attempting" surgery was, in Ms. Ruha'mahs opinion, simply giving up and not trusting God.   She  strongly felt that God had the last word for my life, not doctors.  Though a discharge order was written,  Ms. Ruha'mah refused to take me out of the hospital.

The Pediatric Cardiologist who had originally agreed to evaluate my condition was out of the country when I arrived.  However, when he arrived back home Ms. Ruha'mah met with him.  He agreed to do  everything possible to save my life and I was transferred to his hospital.  There I spent a long time on life support as the doctors sought to learn the cause of an internal infection that I carried.  They also were unsuccessful in determining the cause of a very strange rash that covered one side of my torso in "whirling" pattern.  They took many kinds of tests and sent them away to be studied at a special laboratory.

When I was three and a half months old the doctor explained that they had been "spinning their wheels" and now I was beginning to slip away. They decided to "go for it" and I underwent masive heart  reconstruction.   Various machines kept me alive during many long hours of surgery as the doctors worked  on my heart as it lay on a table! Using Dacron material the doctors built me a septum.  I also had two holes  in my heart and one of them was half the size of my heart!  The doctors took more Dacron material and  covered over these holes and attached this material to my heart with stitches.  The other defects were  also repaired with Dacron material.  The doctors put my heart back in my chest and as they were tying  the last surgical knot they were greatly startled and shocked when my heart began beating very strong, all by itself!  Thanks be to God and to this special team of people and the fantastic pediatric intensivists I now had a new lease on life.  Eighteen days after surgery I took my first suck from a bottle.

After my surgery the doctor told Ms. Ruha'mah that he had "good news" for her:  I was not going to need "six" more surgeries.  I would only need "three" more.  Ms. Ruha'mah replied that he was "not" giving her "good news" for she did not feel that "any" more surgeries would be "good news" and explained that she, being a Ham Radio Operator, was going to get people all over the world to join her in praying that God would heal me without another surgery.  People all over the world prayed.  And I have not had another surgery!   A year and a half after my surgery examinations revealed that I have "no" heart murmur of any kind "and" I have perfect pressure in both chambers of my heart.

But my battle for survival had just begun.  After my heart surgery the test results arrived and revealed that I had several more medical challenges; the greatest one was that I had also been born with a very rare nervous system degenerative Syndrome that is "absolutely lethal" in males.  Rarely is a male ever born as they are  usually spontaneously aborted.  Now Ms. Ruha'mah was given an even more grim medical prognosis:

* I would be mentally retarded

* I would have to be tube fed for the first five years of my life . . . if I lived that long. 

* I would always have seizures

* I would go blind

* I would never talk

* I would never know to urine or stool

* I would never know when I was hungry

* I would be a "vegetable"

* I would not live beyond 7 years of age

To each of these "challenges" Ms. Ruha'mahs response was, "Thank you for telling me.   Now I know what we should be praying for.   No "shot gun" prayers here!   We pray 'specifically.'  It was a miracle that this little boy was even born.  A few days after birth he miraculously came across our path.   He has miraculously survived his heart surgery.  After surgery his little heart miraculously began beating very strongly on it's  own. God surely has a special plan for this little boy!"

Shortly before my first birthday I learned to roll over and then sit up.  When I was about 3 years old I woke up one morning and all signs of my mental retardation were totally gone!   I did not start talking until I was about 5 1/2 years old.  Though there are still serious challenges with my eyes, I've learned to know when I'm hungry and when I have to urine or stool.  I don't have as many seizures.   I often  have severe pain in my feet.  In 2001 the doctors discovered the reason for these pains.  I was born with yet another rare Sydrome.  This one is not fatal, but there is no known cure.  Though I've visited  "death's doorstep" many, many times, prayers have always been heard and answered.  Today I am a  "research" patient as the medical professionals "study" me to learn more about the rare nervous   system Syndrome.

I recently had my 8th - 9th - 10th - 11th - 12th - 13th - 14th - 15th birthday! 

Talents/Gifts are not "inherited" from anyone in our family.  They are GIFTS . . . from  GOD.

One of the gifts God has given is music.  I love music!  I play five different  instruments.  The violin is my favorite! My second favorite is my keyboard.

I love to compose my own music on both my violin and keyboard.  My favorite kind of music is classical.  I love composing classical music.  People tell me my music sounds like Chopan. 

I also love to sing.  I made my official public   singing debut when I was 11.  I get so excited when I'm invited to sing somewhere.

Oh how I love animals!  I have my very own sassy and spoiled little Papillon that everyone loves!

When people talk to me they always say it's like talking to "a little old man."  They always remark about  how intelligent I am.  Since a tiny baby Ms. Ruha'mah would always talk to me as if I understood everything she was saying.  Everyday she would read to me, first the Bible, and then any other books that I let her know I was interested in.

As she read, she would speak slowly and very carefully sound out each word.   Often she would use her fingernails to cover up parts of a word, showing me "words within a word."  

Because of my medical prognosis, people thought she was wasting her time.  Some told her she was in "denial" concerning my medical condtion and one was so bold as to suggest she was even a bit "sick"  not to be able to accept "medical reality." 

What they did not know was that she was instilling deep within  me a passion for books, especially the Word Of God.

However yet another problem presented itself.   The doctors discovered that I was also born with severe dyslexia.   I thought I'd be the only little boy in the whole wide world that could not read.  Oh how I cried!  With each tear that fell, Ms. Ruha'mah would gather me in her lap, hold me close as she always does, and explain to me that Jesus was seeing my very precious tears.  Then we would pray, asking God for yet another miracle: that I would one day be able to read like all other children.  

When I was 10 years old I  awoke one morning and discovered "I CAN READ!"   I now read everything all by myself!   I used to watch  Ms.Ruha'mah very carefully read food labels as she monitored my sugar and sodium intake. I am so happy  that I can now read the labels myself.  I love to read!  

Ms. Ruha'mah always says that  "Readers Become  Leaders."  And people always tell me that I am a "born leader."   But I still love to cuddle in Ms. Ruha'mahs  lap as she reads to me.

I love to travel.  Ms. Ruha'mah is Jewish and took me on a business trip to Israel.  As we walked along the streets of Jerusalem total strangers often run out of their shops, some even run down the street to catch  up with us just to give me a little gift.  Those in our group were amazed.   Ms. Ruha'mah said that it was  just like in Bible days: People brought gifts to the Prophet. 

Oh yes!  I can hear the voice of God so 'very'  clearly.  I used to see Angels.  But I haven't seen any in a while.  Instead, sometimes a strong force, like  a vacuum cleaner or a tornado, sucks me up to Heaven.  Heaven is a wonderful place and not at all like  people think it is.  I like to share these experiences with others.  When I do I can tell that some people  get really scared, others do not understand while there are others that want to hear more.  My heart longs to return to  Israel.   I love visiting the Wailing Wall because I always have a very special experience there. 

I also have a great desire in my heart to go to Russia and the former Soviet bloc nations.  I'm saving my money!

I love visiting libraries and book stores.  I love it when Ms. Ruha'mah takes me camping and fishing. 

I love music and dancing.   Almost every day God gives me a creative song  of Praise and Worship.   Ms. Ruha'mah records them all.   Well, almost all of them.   Sometimes I will not allow her to record a song because "some" songs are not to be shared with others.  Those are the  songs that God gives me and He wants me to give them right back to Him as I Praise and Worship Him.

Since I first learned how to talk I have always told everyone that when I get big I want to be a doctor and go to yet developing countries and save the lives of children.  While I'm there I will Preach the Gospel and tell everyone what God has done for me.  When I was younger I loved to go outside and pretend the trees are my  congregation as I preach to them.   Ms. Ruha'mah taught me sign language when I could not talk.   Now I "sign" as I preach and sing.  When I was younger I loved to go outside and pretend the trees were my choir members and I directed them in songs of Praise and Worship.   I love God's Creation!

Now that I'm older I'm involved in my church, serving at the alter, singing in the choir and playing the keyboard and my violin.

There is so much more that I'd love to share with you.  Ms. Ruha'mah always stays very busy   working on many different medical projects.  However, as time permits, little by little, she is  writing my story.  

I am saving the best to last when I tell you that Ms. Ruha'mah legally adopted me at birth.  The enemy of our souls has tried one tactic after another to wipe me  off the face of the earth: he does not want God's plan and purpose for my life to be fulfilled.   My story is one of hope, perseverance and endurance as each battle for my life has been fought. 

Ms. Ruha'mah believes that each battle in our lives is for a "reason" and only for a "season."   No matter how tired, exhausted or discouraged one becomes they must "endure" for the Bible  tells us in Matt. 10:22 that the only thing in eternity that will be rewarded is "endurance."   My story is sure to bring encouragement to others to help them endure.  Hopefully, one day  you will be able to read it.

Now I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine: Roberto. Yes, Roberto and I, along with many other children like us, deeply appreciate the talented and dedicated professionals who are all a part of the INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S MEDICAL  FOUNDATION.   They extend their hand to YOU.   Won't you PLEASE take their hand, " Partner"  with them and do all you can to support this WONDERFUL WORK and help my other "brothers" and "sisters" in the "yet developing" countries of this world?

They NEED your support!


(Updated: Dec. 2008)

Remember I said earlier that I'd like to go to Russia/former Soviet Bloc countries?  God has opened the door for me to go in the summer of  2009!  I also love dancing and have become involved in a Praise/Worship dance team in Brazil, South America.   That dance team will also go on this trip!  I am so very excited!  I've not saved all of the needed finances for this trip, however, I'm still working on it!  If you, the reader would like to make a donation to help with my trip expenses you can do so via the Donation button found at the bottom of this page.  Remember, your donation is a charitable tax deduction! 


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