African teen and host family recognized by Rotary

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After discovering there was a hole in Ambrus Correa’s heart in March 2018, the UK-based Chain of Hope placed him on a waiting list — his life ultimately in limbo. It behooved Correa’s father, Simon, to seek other options, regardless of the distance necessary to travel from the Gambia.

Correa met an individual whose daughter has a similar condition to Ambrus, and she was able to get the surgery necessary.

“She introduced me to Gift of Life. We spoke to them, and they asked us to send his medical records, which we did, and they accepted [Ambrus] straight away,” Correa said.

Gift of Life International, based in Fresh Meadows, paid for half of Ambrus’s flight to the U.S., though the finances needed were an obstacle for Correa. However, the father and son were selected by a host family, Rotarians Christopher and Marie Dee.

“I cannot express how much [gratitude] I have for them because they did so much for us,” Correa said of the Dees.

Now, after Ambrus’s surgery, the Islip Rotary recognized him and the host family at a lunch at Irish Coffee Pub on Carleton Avenue in East Islip last Thursday.

Christopher Dee said that he and Marie have hosted for several families, particularly from Honduras and El Salvador, with a child in need of a lifesaving operation. Dee said it is a very rewarding process.

Dee added that Ambrus is very quiet, but has a great, big smile.

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