Choity now has opportunities for a healthy, fulfilling life

“As Patron of  both Children First Foundation and Monash Children’s Hospital I am delighted to support Children First’s Winter Appeal.  Please join me in assisting more disadvantaged children from overseas to receive life changing surgery. Our goal is to raise $100,000 before 30 June.”  Lady Marigold Southey AC, Patron


By making a tax deductible donation to Children First’s Winter Appeal you can change the lives of more children like Choity.

Dear Friends,

The wonderful news is that after reconstructive surgery that changed her life, three-year-old Choity and her mother Shima have returned home to Bangladesh.

Choity was born with significant deformities which were beyond the resources of surgical teams in Bangladesh. She had a third leg which surgeons removed when she was eight days old; at the same time they attempted to fit her with a colostomy to address her complex anatomy.  They knew it wasn’t a permanent solution, but it did buy her some time.  As if life wasn’t hard enough for this little one, she’s also vision impaired.

Choity’s parents, Shima and Asad were factory workers living in a very poor community 40km from Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka.  Their first daughter died at birth, and they were devastated when faced with the extent of the challenges confronting their second child.

When our friends at Bangladeshi charity AACHOL Trust referred Choity to Children First we immediately sought the opinion of renowned paediatric surgeon Associate Professor Chris Kimber at Monash Children’s Hospital.

Choity and Shima arrived in mid-winter Melbourne last year.  You can imagine the culture shock for a young mother from Bangladesh, not able to speak English, her child desperately in need of help and with no family around her.  Shima soon felt comfortable thanks to the warm welcome of our staff and volunteers who went about delivering the holistic care we speak of with great pride.

Following the initial examinations it became clear that Choity’s condition was far worse than first thought.  Professor Kimber began consulting with local and international colleagues and conducted exploratory surgery. The result of these investigations and advice was positive and presented two ways forward.

Chris considered what medical support would be available for Choity when she returned to Bangladesh.  The surgical outcome must also fit the lifestyle of this little girl as she grew up, and provide the ability for her to become a mother.  His decision around the best procedure was based on what was best for Choity now and as she grew up.

The surgery, which took place in November last year, revealed that Choity had begun life as a twin, hence the existence of her third leg.  Chris and his team removed the remnants of this leg, retaining muscles that were then incorporated into the reconstruction of Choity’s body.  The result was an outstanding success and ten months after arriving on that winter’s night she was able to return home.

Children First has worked in this global health space since 1999, committed to enabling medical solutions to the challenges facing children like Choity. Thankfully we don’t do this alone – we are supported by the very best surgeons, health professionals and hospitals, wonderful volunteers and incredibly generous individuals and organisations who give financial and in-kind support.

As I write to you we await the arrival of five children – from Vietnam, Timor Leste and Palestine – with another seven being reviewed.  Just weeks ago, we were thrilled when one of our surgeons told us he could help five-year-old Janelio. Walking, running and playing is already difficult for this little fellow due to his limb deformities;  without corrective surgery his mobility will decline.

We really appreciate the support we receive and hope that you can assist these children.  By making a tax-deductible gift, you will enable more children to receive surgery they can’t access in their country, bringing them hope for a happy future.

I would like to thank you for considering a donation to Children First and invite you to email me at ceo@childrenfirstfoundation.org.au or call me on 0418 565 531 if you would like further information.

It’s always a joyful occasion for us when a child returns home – we know that through our collaboration with partner surgeons and hospitals we’ve made a significant difference to that child’s life.  On behalf of the children and their families – a heart-felt THANK YOU!
Elizabeth Lodge, Chief Executive Officer

“The outcome for Choity has been excellent, way beyond all our initial expectations.  She now walks and runs well and has the opportunity of a fulfilling life.  Providing this care is so difficult and complex.  It was only possible through the enormous support of Children First Foundation and the entire team at the Retreat.  Children Like Choity deserve the best advice and care.”  Associate Professor Chris Kimber, Head of Surgery Monash Children’s

Photos: Teagan Glenane Photography, Monash Children’s Hospital, Children First Foundation, Atom Rahman.