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Young Damian returns to Johannesburg seeking new life

Roswitha Hofmann-Sagner of Swakopmund and her son Damian. They leave for Johannesburg this weekend to continue Damian’s treatment of a serious heart defect he suffers from since birth. The Sagner family is supported by the Okanti Foundation and hundreds of other supporters to cover the costs of his very expensive treatment. (Photograph contributed)

Roswitha Hofmann-Sagner of Swakopmund and her son Damian. They leave for Johannesburg this weekend to continue Damian’s treatment of a serious heart defect he suffers from since birth. The Sagner family is supported by the Okanti Foundation and hundreds of other supporters to cover the costs of his very expensive treatment. (Photograph contributed)

Damian Sagner was born with a serious heart defect. At six weeks of age, his condition turned critical and he had to be flown to Johannesburg for consultation with a specialist.
By that time he was seven weeks old. For the specialists that treated  him it was a miracle that he was still alive. Normally these baby´s die the first two weeks after birth. Often the diagnosis would be sudden cod death. The diagnosis they made was devastating. Not only did he have a huge hole in the heart, but also his main arteries were switched. He did not have one artery with oxynated blood and one with deoxynated blood, but everything was mixed. He was very weak and they said they wanted to operate in the morning. His mother, Roswitha Hofmann-Sagner said she later heard the real reason for waiting was to see if he survived the night.

But during the operation it turned out Damian’s heart defect was inoperable at that point. The only thing that can be done for him is to work around the heart or a heart transplant. Both cases include a incredibly high risk.
Against all odds, Damian recovered. “My baby with the heart of a lion, a little construction problems, but just as strong” said his mother. She was not ready to give up. A neuro – physiotherapyst taught her how to work with Damian and he made a remarkable recovery and a lot of progress since.
Damian needed oxygen all the time but as he improved, he could be taken off the oxygen.
“He is a miracle, an outstanding fighter. He has an iron will to live, pulling me along with him” said Roswitha, citing the tremendous medical costs his condition has incurred. Assisted by the Okanti Foundation, hundreds of individuals have in the meantime contributed to help Damian with his treatment.
In September last year, Damian was examined again by the specialists in Johannesburg. After returning to Swakopmund, he suffered a setback and had to go back on oxygen. His only option now is a very expensive high-risk operation to try and restore some of his heart’s functions. This will be done in Johannesburg and the family leaves this weekend in trepidation but with much expectation that Damian will come back a new child.
“We will fly to Johannesburg on 16 February. A lot of tests will be done, but it is a fact that he will get an operation that week. It will be a very high risk operation, but with the help of the Lord above, Damian then will have a chance to reach adulthood and live nearly a normal life” said his mother.

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