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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, January 31, 2003

Readers can help save Bali boy

By Lee Cataluna
Advertiser Columnist

Dorothy Smith, 71, of Kailua, is on a mission to help a very sick little boy. In between prayers, she's making a lot of phone calls.

Smith made her first trip to Bali, Indonesia, in 1989. During that visit, she got to know a tour driver, a young man named Nyoman Sapta Adijaya. It was a traveler's dream come true: having a friend to show you the best places to go, the best things to see.

Smith made trips back to Bali every year from 1993 to 1999. Each time, she got together with Nyoman, spent time with his family, brought his two children clothes and toys and shoes.

One year, Nyoman had to have surgery. Realizing that Nyoman earns the equivalent of $155 a month, the Smiths helped pay his hospital bill. That was around $600. This time, though, the need is greater than the Smiths can handle by themselves.

Nyoman's second child, 8-year-old Made Dwi Putra, has been diagnosed with a congenital heart condition known as tetralogy of fallot. During their last trip to Bali last summer, the Smiths were shocked to see the boy's deteriorating condition.

"It's so bad but he's trying to go to school so his older brother piggybacks him to school and his mother goes and piggybacks him home. His fingers get blue and his mouth gets blue and he collapses and passes out if he exerts any energy at all. ... We were told if nothing is done for this child, he won't make it to 15."

Smith was immediately on the case. She made calls to hospitals, physicians and organizations. She sent money to the family for more medical tests. She sent letters and faxes. Finally, she found a hospital willing to take the case.

Loma Linda University Medical Center's International Heart Institute has a program called "Open Hearts for Children," and Made's case fits its mission. However, administrator Alyna Taylor said the hospital drained the program's money helping two children from Bangladesh. Smith is focused on helping the hospital raise money for Made's surgery.

The operation to repair Made's heart will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but because the hospital and cardiologists will donate much of that, Smith needs to raise $12,000. Donations can be made to the hospital fund and are tax-deductible.

The $12,000 doesn't include the cost of airfare, so Smith is calling airlines to work something out. Smith says either she or her husband will accompany the family to California for support, but will pay their own way.

• • •

Donations may be sent to:

Open Hearts for Children
Loma Linda International Heart Institute
11234 Anderson St., Room 1636
Loma Linda, CA 92354

Include a separate note with recipient's name, Made Dwi Putra (not on check).

Reach Lee Cataluna at 535-8172 or lcataluna@honoluluadvertiser.com.