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Bay Area Doctor Combats #1 Birth Defect to Save Young Lives
by Alison Kjeldgaard
Wednesday Jan 29th, 2014 10:57 AM
This Valentine's Day, World of Children Award is teaming up with an Oakland-based doctor to provide life-saving heart surgeries for children.
Every year, 1.3 million babies are born with a congenital heart defect, the most common birth defect in the world. Due to a lack of advanced medical care in developing countries around the world, most will not get the surgery they need to survive. Fortunately, heroes like Dr. Nilas Young, recipient of the 2012 World of Children Health Award, are ensuring more children have access to cardiac treatment and care. Through February 14, World of Children Award is supporting Dr. Young’s vital work with a special Valentine’s Day fundraising campaign.

"The gift of life is the greatest gift we can offer to a child," said Harry Leibowitz, World of Children Award's Co-Founder. "Dr. Young has given that gift not once or twice but thousands of times."

Dr. Young first became inspired to provide heart surgery for children outside of the U.S. after he saved the life of a 7-year-old Russian girl. Word spread about the successful surgery, and soon he and his colleagues were receiving hundreds of letters from Russian parents, begging them to help their critically-ill children. He decided to found Heart to Heart International Children's Medical Alliance to train physicians and establish new pediatric heart care facilities in regions across the country.

Since then, Dr. Young and his team have saved the lives of more than 15,000 children.

"Heroes like Dr. Young give me hope that one day -- one little heart by one little heart -- every child will have an equal opportunity to lead a healthy life, no matter where they are born," Leibowitz said.

Every donation made through February 14 will help Dr. Young continue to provide life-saving heart surgery for children. Donations can be made at