On Monday, May 11th, 2 ½ year old Rexhep and his father Rasim from Kosovo arrived on schedule at JFK Airport. Initially they stayed with the grandparents of Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj in the Bronx until the Assemblyman returned from Albany.
The support team (Lilyanna Pekic as interpreter, Rotarians Lyn Roth-Jacobs representing the host club of Pelham and District 7230 Gift of Life Chairman Bill Currie) went and met
with Dr. Giamelli later that afternoon. Rexhep has several issues with his heart and even though he is only 2 1/2 years old, those problems are starting to mount, which is why this surgery is so vital to him at this point.
On May 15th, Rexhep underwent successful surgery. Bill Currie picked up Lilyanna in the Bronx about 6AM and then headed over to meet Rexhep, his father Rasim and Mark Gjonaj’s mother, Roza to go to Maria Fareri Hospital in Valhalla. He went up for surgery just after 9AM and finished around 1:25PM. Dr. Giamelli said all went well, and added that it was good he had the surgery now since the walls of his heart are thickening due to the pressure on his heart. His prognosis is excellent for a good life.
Rexhep had a followup visit with Dr. Giamelli on May 21st. The surgeon was very pleased with Rexhep’s progress so far. He is a little concerned about the thick wall that surrounds the upper part of his heart, caused by the valve in the upper chamber of his heart not working properly. The valve is now operating well but the doctor would like to monitor the heart for another two weeks mostly to make sure he gets the proper care for his heart when he returns to Kosovo.
So, this sweet little boy will have another appointment with the doctor on June 3rd. The doctor said he is cleared to go home but just wants to watch the recovery progress for a little longer to that he get the right medication if needed and the proper care when he goes home.