The Accountant – Issue 2 of 2021 (MIA Publication)
Almost ten babies in every thousand are born with a congenital heart defect (CHD). The condition develops when there is an irregularity in the heart structure of newborns that, typically, alters the flow of blood or blocks it completely.
Not all heart defects require treatment, but complex cases of this disease will need immediate intervention through medication or even surgery. Some children will require urgent and multiple surgeries, often overseas.
Science and treatment have come a long way since the times when this condition was virtually a death sentence for children. Today, many people born with CHD can reach adulthood and enjoy a full life, but besides the physical concerns of the illness, there is also the impact on the psychological health of the affected persons and their families.
Beating Hearts Malta (BHM) was founded specifically for this mission: to give patients and their families the comfort and support they need to overcome challenges that people without CHD take for granted. The condition can directly affect the person’s overall health, leading to further complications along the way. This, in turn, interferes with other areas of life, such as the availability of health insurance and employability or birth control and pregnancy.
As a non-profit organisation, this year, we are celebrating our tenth anniversary, and throughout the decade we have empowered hundreds of patients and their parents to live with the condition and not allow it to hinder their ambitions. One of the major projects BHM is working on is the advocacy for fairer health cover plans by the insurance sector in Malta. We increase recognition of the difficulties faced by affected individuals and propose dignified ways to cater for their needs.
Since BHM was established, we have run relentless campaigns to raise awareness about CHD and to collect funds that go directly for specialised hospital equipment and further research into this illness. In our ten years, we believe we have made real improvements to the lives of many families.
The MIA has joined us on this journey, and we are extremely grateful for the generosity and kindness showed by members time and again. This year we were delighted to partner with the MIA again to launch an exciting project that will continue to support families of children with CHD.
In the last months, MIA Staff, MIA Young Members Group and their friends and colleagues participated in a drive to collect used wine and spirit cases and boxes that have now been turned into an exclusive collection of art pieces.
When I am not practising paediatric cardiology, in my spare time, I enjoy landscape painting and mobile photography. I have held many exhibitions and published two books with my work. The greatest satisfaction for me is that my pieces are contributing directly to BHM’s cause.
The Wines & Spirits collection features 60 original landscapes of Malta and Gozo painted with the use of a palette knife. We launched the initiative in April and managed to find all the 60 pieces by May. From then on, I dedicated my spare time to the project, creating unique pieces in my eclectic style.
I am fascinated by the natural contrasting colours of the Maltese scenery and the way the vivid skies blend into our traditional townscapes and seascapes. My technique using oils and a palette knife tries to capture that mysterious sense of calm in motion giving it my unique interpretation.
The creative process was an embodiment of the strong relationship between the members of the MIA and the children that benefit from BHM’s work. These 60 pieces of art represent the common values of responsibility, innovation, and teamwork that bind the two organisations together. Ultimately, professionals in both the financial and healthcare sectors have a mission and indeed, a duty to improve the common good.
I am proud of what MIA and BHM have accomplished together, particularly in this time of uncertainty. Our efforts will help to ease the pressures on new parents who, besides the difficulties posed by the pandemic, have to contend with the risks associated with CHD.
Congenital heart disease is my life’s work, and the attention and care to this illness have increased significantly in recent years. The artistic collaboration with MIA is another concrete way how we can build a stronger safety net for families and children affected by this condition.
MIA recently shared more information on how you can support BHM by purchasing one of the 60 featured paintings.
Prof. Victor Grech is a consultant paediatrician specialised in paediatric cardiology and has published extensively on paediatrics. He is also the current President of Beating Hearts Malta. The full artwork portfolio can be viewed on maltaimpressions.com.
Visit the Beating Hearts Malta website beatingheartsmalta.org.