Team Heart Patient Receives Award for Helping Others

Jean Paul and Jacky
Jean Paul and Jacky Iyamuremye during a visit to Brigham and Women’s Hospital last week. The pair were en route to Hawaii, where Jean Paul received the Bakken Invitation Award.

Six years ago, a young man in his 20s lay dying in a hospital bed in Rwanda. Emaciated, bed-ridden and incredibly ill with bacterial endocarditis, Jean Paul Iyamuremye’s chances of survival seemed slim. It was a drastic change from just four months earlier, when life had been so promising. He had just married a wonderful woman named Jacky, and they were ready to start their lives together.

But Jean Paul was lucky. While he was in the hospital, a newly formed group, called Team Heart, was just beginning to plan its first cardiac surgery mission to Rwanda. Led by BWH cardiac surgeon Chip Bolman, MD, and his wife, Ceeya Patton Bolman, RN, the team met Jean Paul and planned to operate on him during their mission five months later, hoping that he would survive in the interim.

He did, and received the first mechanical valve to be done in Rwanda on Team Heart’s inaugural trip in April of 2008.

Today, a vibrant, healthy and optimistic Jean Paul has just returned from Hawaii, where he received an award for his advocacy work on behalf of other Team Heart patients. The team returns to Rwanda each year, and Jean Paul is committed to helping patients as they undergo surgery and begin to recover. Continue reading “Team Heart Patient Receives Award for Helping Others”