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Dr Shawky and a grateful patient.

Our goal is to heal as many hearts as possible every day. We hear so much about the children that we heal and their families. And we believe it is so important to tell their stories as much as possible. That being said, we like to shine the light on some of the amazing medical professionals who help us attain this goal.

Today we want to spotlight Dr. Shawky- a skilled doctor and an incredible human being. We welcomed Dr. Shawky to the Gift of Life International team in 2015. Ever since, Dr. Shawky has demonstrated remarkable dedication, expertise, and compassion, operating on thousands of children and counting. Let’s learn more about what makes Dr. Shawky a beacon of hope.

It All Started At An Early Age

It was Dr. Shawky’s father who inspired him to pursue medicine. A doctor himself, his father instilled in him a desire to help others. From a young age, he knew he was destined to provide relief and aid to people in any form he could.

But from a young age, he also knew exactly what kind of healing he wanted to do.

“I was drawn to cardiac surgery in particular”, Dr. Shawky says. “I was touched by this branch of medicine because it’s very challenging and I knew that the surgeries we would perform have a dramatic effect on the lives of our patients.” Despite being an incredibly challenging field of medicine, Dr. Shawky emphasized his genuine desire to help patients wholeheartedly, regardless of any obstacles that may arise.

Traveling The World to Bring Healing Home

Dr. Shawky’s pursuit to become a cardiac surgeon would lead him to new hospitals around the world. He completed medical school at the Cairo University in Egypt and started his career working at the university.

In an effort to amass experience in the field, Dr. Shawky traveled to Lyon, France in 1992 and the following year worked at the Great Ormond St. Children’s Hospital in London. His travels from London eventually led him to the United States, where he became a visiting professor at a college in Oregon for two years from 1995-1997. The entirety of this time was also spent practicing general cardiac and thoracic surgery.

It was not until 98’ that Dr. Shawky decided to solely pursue and work in pediatric cardiac surgery, a decision that has changed the lives of thousands of children since.

Partnership with Gift of Life International

Dr. Shawky and medical volunteers

Dr. Shawky and medical volunteers

Dr. Shawky has vehemently expressed and emphasized the importance of the work we do at Gift of Life International.

As explained by Dr. Shawky, “Gift of Life International provides life-saving procedures for underprivileged children in various countries across the globe. The impact of such efforts is far-reaching and long-lasting.”

He continued to express the need for self-sufficient programs if there is to be medical aid for impacted communities for decades to come. Together with the help and guidance of Dr. Shawky, Gift of Life International has been able to facilitate the creation of a successful pediatric cardiac surgery program in Egypt.

When asked why the Egyptian program has been so successful, Dr. Shawky proudly notes the trained local and international teams that are located on the ground.

“Providing training–and continuing to do so–for the younger local generation has been instrumental in creating a successful program,” he said.

Furthermore, Dr. Shawky believes that the continuation of such training is what will lead to the sustainability of this program and others like it. As Dr. Shawky continues to seek financial support through national insurance programs and NGOs, the Egyptian initiative has proven to be remarkably successful, leading to the healing of many little hearts.

Through the partnership with Gift of Life International, Dr. Shawky was able to facilitate the undertaking of 200 surgeries through the means of global grants.

The work of Dr. Shawky together with Gift of Life International transcends that of healthcare and medical procedures. While such elements are crucial aspects for providing proper relief, it isn’t just about that; it’s about weaving a global tapestry of care, training, and empowerment, where each thread strengthens the fabric of a community’s health system.

Donations for children’s heart disease are at the foundation of the work we do.

A Healing Touch

Dr. Shawky and a patient ready for surgery.

Dr. Shawky and a patient ready for surgery.

During his tenure of dedicated work, Dr. Shawky has had the honor of witnessing the lasting effects his work has had on lives all across the globe.

In one such case, Dr. Shawky shares with us a story of resilience and hope in Cairo where a 10-year-old boy was in need of life-saving open heart surgery. This little boy possessed a strong passion for football in spite of his condition; however, due to his condition he was only ever able to stand on the sidelines of games and watch in longing and despair.

Fast forward to eight months following this young boy’s heart surgery, Dr. Shawky was able to share in the magic and joy of this little boy being able to run down to the football field and participate in a match for the very first time in his life. Another story that comes to mind is that of a 16-year old girl from Kenya who was born with an Ebstein anomaly which prevented her from ever leaving the house.

Her condition caused her to constantly fall sick, and due to the possible risk of straining herself, she was unable to help her family or partake in any everyday activities. Dr. Shawky was able to meet with this young girl and explain to her the options from which she could choose to alleviate her condition.

While the suggested surgery was very risky, Dr. Shawky explained that he has had success with such an operation before. She ultimately decided to put her life in his hands. One year following her operation, Dr. Shawky says she is a completely new person, almost unrecognizable.

She updated him on her recovery and how she is now able to help her family and lead a normal life. It was because of Dr. Shawky’s life-saving surgery that this young girl will be going off to college next fall to become a fashion designer.

What It All Means

Dr. Shawky explained that one of the most gratifying achievements of his career with Gift of Life International was being able to reach out and help various countries in Africa, helping them in their journey to start programs for congenital heart disease, pediatric diseases, and cardiac surgery.

Dr. Shawky has a dream of establishing pediatric and cardiac centers of his own in an effort to help as many needy children as possible. His work and organizations like Gift of Life International symbolize hope – a beacon in the global health landscape, guiding us towards a future where every child with congenital heart disease gets the chance to live a full and healthy life.

If you know a child that has heart disease and needs help, you can refer a child here.

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