Mend Alia's Broken Heart

By East Timor Hearts Fund

Campaign Completed on

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Our Mend Alia's Broken Heart campaign has now finished, but our work providing life-saving heart surgery in Australia for young people from Timor-Leste goes on. Please go to our website to find out more about how you can donate and get involved.

Thank you Australia!

'Thank you for helping my daughter'

Dear friend,

Moments ago our Mend Alia’s Broken Heart campaign concluded. As one of the beautiful people who supported our quest to give Alia life-saving heart surgery in Australia, we are thrilled to give you this update.

Firstly, and most importantly, yesterday our volunteer medical team, Dr Noel Bayley and Dr Alan Appelbe, gave Alia her final checkup, and confirmed that she is set to come to Australia for her surgery. This is a truly fantastic outcome for Alia, who aspires to finish school and be a doctor, so she can help others with life-threatening heart disease.

Final preparations are now underway for Alia to come to Australia, along with her mum Octavia, and a health support worker/interpreter. If you have not done so already, please subscribe to our e-news for the latest on Alia, and other occasional updates on our work, or follow our Facebook page.

Yesterday our volunteer video crew, Hugh and Sophie, caught up with Alia and Octavia, and told them how people all over Australia were donating so that Alia gets the care she needs.

Please watch the video to see their reaction!

After living with debilitating symptoms for so long, Alia is understandably thrilled that medical help is at hand, as is her whole family.

Alia told us: "I can't wait to come to Australia." Octavia said: "Thank you for helping my daughter. I am so happy now. Thanks Australia!"

Our campaign raised more than $29,000 – way in excess of our original $20,000 target! This is great news for Alia, and for the other young patients on our waiting list. It’s also a tribute to the generosity and support of people like you, who donated to ensure that Alia gets the care she needs, and shared her story, to let more people know about our work.

We hope that you’re proud also to have been part of this life-changing experience for Alia, and the other young patients who need our help.

Obrigada barak (thank you very much)!

Ingrid, on behalf of the Mend Alia's Broken Heart campaign team

Help Mend Alia’s Broken Heart

Update 13 October 2016 - We did it!

We did it! Just over a fortnight ago we embarked on the massive challenge of crowdfunding $20,000 in 20 days to give teenage heart patient Alia life-saving heart surgery.

Thanks to our amazingly big-hearted supporters, in just 16 days we have reached our $20,000 target! A whole new life is in sight for our 15-year-old patient Alia.

We have been stunned by the response to our call to help Alia get the medical care she needs.

People and foundations from around Australia have given gifts large and small, and left beautiful messages of support. Many people are continuing to give, and continuing to come up with creative ways to help, such as the Timorese street food fundraiser in Melbourne on Saturday 15 October, being organised by our friends Sabores de Timor (details on our Facebook page).

That’s why even though we have reached our financial target of $20,000 four days early, we have decided to keep the campaign open until the planned end date of 17 October.

We don’t want to thwart the kindness of so many people who still passionately want to help. We have a waiting list of patients, and any further funds raised will help ensure they have the same life-changing opportunity as Alia.

So while we celebrate reaching this goal, it’s not too late to support the campaign. Please share Alia’s story with all the generous people you know and please donate to help another patient like Alia have a second chance at life.

Obrigada barak,

Ingrid, on behalf of the Mend Alia’s Broken Heart campaign team

A land of broken hearts

East Timor is one of Australia’s closest neighbours. It takes less time to fly there than it takes many people to drive to work. And while this young nation is doing a great job in rebuilding after decades of colonisation and conflict, more than half of the population still lives on US$1.25 a day, less than one in three rural people have sanitation facilities and there is 0.1, (yes, one tenth!) of a doctor per 1000 people.

Because of a lack of access to sanitation and health care, many people contract childhood rheumatic fever. Untreated, this can lead to rheumatic heart disease. With no specialist cardiac care, children and young adults face a short life blighted by pain, worry and ill health.

Meet Alia

Alia Borges, 15, is one of these young people. Alia has critical rheumatic heart disease. It makes her tired, breathless, dizzy and unable to eat. Despite this, Alia is a dedicated student, who aspires to be a doctor so she can help others with life-threatening heart disease. Each day Alia uses all of her energy to get to school and study. She cannot enjoy sport, family life or playing with friends.

Our plan to Mend Alia’s Broken Heart

We think Alia deserves a normal childhood and a chance to chase her dream of becoming a doctor. So we’re raising $20,000 in 20 days to bring her to Australia for life-saving heart surgery.

With a new heart, Alia can work toward her dream. She can contribute to her community and country. Most importantly, she can have a normal childhood, free from pain and worry.

Here’s how you can help

We need $20,000 for:

  • Airfares to bring Alia, her mum Octavia, and a health support worker/interpreter to Australia
  • Medical care
  • Accommodation, food and local transport for Alia and her carers.

Please make a tax-deductible donation now. Our campaign ends on 17 October.

Note: you can also donate offline by posting a cheque or money order or by bank transfer. Please contact us at [email protected] and we'll tell you how.

Our gift to you

Let us show you how grateful we are for your support with these special thank you gifts:

Social shout out If you are one of the first 50 people to contribute $250 you will receive a personalised post on our Facebook and Instagram pages dedicated totally to you and your generosity.

Hall of Fame Be one of the first 20 people to donate $500 or more and, as a symbol of our undying love, we’ll list your name on a permanent Hall of Fame page on our website.

Afternoon tea with Alia Contribute $1000 or more, and you can be one of only five supporters to enjoy a special afternoon tea with Alia, her mum Octavia, members of our volunteer medical team and our other volunteers. Alia can tell you about her hopes and dreams for the future and you can see first-hand the life-changing difference your support has made. PLUS: You’ll be listed in our Hall of Fame AND we’ll give you a personalised social shout out to say thanks.

Find out more

Visit us at to find out more.

Connect with us via social media #mendaliasbrokenheart #mendingbrokenhearts

You can follow us on Facebook and get the latest from us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

You can also view the Mending Alia's Broken Heart video with Tetum captions.

Mending broken hearts - in less than two minutes!

View the video to find out more about what we do.

Thank you!

THANK YOU to the following supporters who have helped make the Mend Alia’s Broken Heart campaign possible. Please support those who support us!

  • Struck & Spink – graphic design
  • Ben McEwing of Carben Creative and Zachary McSweeney– video production
  • Eddy Amina Paraujo and Hugh Miley – photography
  • Hugh Miley – videography
  • Ana Saldanha and Sophie Clarkson – translating and interpreting
  • Paul Brady and Caffe Strada – launch catering
  • Russell Kennedy lawyers – launch venue
  • Dr Kirsty Sword Gusmao and Libbi Gorr – guest speaking
  • All of the East Timor Hearts Fund volunteers who have helped with this crowdfunding campaign.

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    Offline donation

Team Members

East Timor Hearts Fund