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
* My heart defect was
* I had a one percent chance of
* If I lived through the first surgery, I
would require 6 more.
* I could die during any one of those
* I would need to be tube fed for my first
* 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
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
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
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
I recently had my 8th - 9th - 10th - 11th - 12th - 13th - 14th - 15th
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
I THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!
* * * * * * *
Are you shopping for a special person in your life?
Be sure to visit our Fundraising Store: Agape Treasures
All proceeds from Agape Treasures purchases will be your *secure*
direct deposit contribution
into ICMF's bank account.
If you are not shopping today would you consider making a monetary
donation? Whether great or small, your gift is very valuable remembering
and telling children like myself that someone “out there” cares about us. It’s people like YOU who make it possible to continue this great outreach. Know that you will be