SYOSSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A group of teens from Long Island have a unique goal.
Monday, marked the start of a full week of life saving heart surgeries around the world that they made possible.READ MORE: Third Stimulus Check: How Could The Economic Relief Package Put More Money In Your Pocket?
Rina, 9, from Kosovo is 7,500 miles from home, but Syosset High School students made that distance disappear with a warm welcome.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the little girl will undergo life saving heart surgery thanks to a caring community with an ambitious goal.
Syosset students spent a year raising funds for a global initiative. Heart surgeries for seven children on seven continents in seven days.
“This was something bigger than ourselves. We were able to bring the entire district together, the entire community,” Alexis Shore said.
Thanks to them there will be heart operations for children in El Salvador, the Philippines, Jamaica, Israel, Uganda, and the Vatican.
On Long Island, Rina met the St. Francis Hospital doctor who donated his time to repair a hole in her heart. Without it she has little chance for a full life.
“It’s a cumulative affect over years, shorten her growth, and eventually it would catch up to her,” Dr. Sean Levchuck explained.READ MORE: Bronx Students Receive Free Laptops For School; 'Tens Of Thousands' Still In Need, Borough President Says
Rina and her mother don’t speak English, but expressed humble gratitude through their consul general.
“I think it’s very emotional, but at the same time relief that she will live,” Vlora Qjtaku said.
“It’s just amazing that we can help her live a long healthy life,” Lindsay Grossman said.
Coordinating with ten nations and children a world away taught lifetime lessons.
“They are learning so intimately the spirit of empathy,” Carisa Steinberg said.
“A lot of people might say, ‘kids can’t do something like this, but we are obviously proving them wrong,'” Dara Elpren said.
Rina’s surgery is set for Wednesday. Her prognosis is for a full recovery.MORE NEWS: Judge Esther Salas Returns To Bench More Than 7 Months After Son Killed, Husband Wounded In Attack
The students raised more than $50,000 which is actually enough money to arrange for life saving surgery for an eighth child.