Photo exhibition set to open this weekend

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign Urbana Jewish Federation and University of Illinois Hillel will host a photography exhibition opening Sunday at the Champaign Public Library.

The exhibit will be on display from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the library and then move to the Hillel Lounge, 503 E. John St., C, where it will remain through Feb. 17. The exhibit features photographs of some of the children from more than 48 countries whose lives have been saved through the efforts of Save a Child's Heart, an Israel-based international humanitarian project.

David Litwack, U.S. executive director of Save a Child's Heart, will be at the Champaign Public Library at 4 p.m. Sunday to discuss the organization and its work.

He also will host a Skype session among children at Sinai Temple and Save a Child's Heart patients in Israel and will be available for questions on the University of Illinois Quadrangle on Monday.

The mission of Save a Child's Heart is to improve cardiac care for children from developing countries who suffer from acute heart disease. Most of the children go to Israel for surgery. Others are operated on in their home countries by the Save a Child's Heart medical team — all volunteers. The organization also trains doctors and nurses from developing countries.

Since 1995, the service has treated more than 3,000 children — half from the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Morocco. More than 40 percent are from Africa.

The ultimate goal of Save a Child's Heart is to create centers of pediatric cardiac care in developing countries. Medical workers from around the globe go to an Israeli medical center for in-depth training.

The organization also has facilitated the development of a pediatric cardiac center for low-income patients in Holon, Israel.

The European Union and the United Nations have recognized Save a Child's Heart for its achievements, and the organization recently received a major grant from U.S. AID to train doctors from the Palestinian Authority.

The organization is certified by Independent Charities of America as one of the best charities in America. Of the more than 1 million charities in the United States today, fewer than 2 percent have been awarded this designation.

The Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation supports Save a Child's Heart through donations from the local community.

For more information, go to shalomcu.org, illinihillel.org or saveachildsheart.org.

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