Over 1,300 miles stood between Markieda and a hospital that could help her with heart surgery. At just 14 years old, Markieda and her mother bravely took a long journey this past November when Markieda’s health quickly declined.
Markieda is well-known to WPP. A happy teenager from Dominica, WPP first met Markieda through the annual diagnostic cardiology clinic WPP typically holds on the island each March. Markieda was then 6 years old and had received some intervention already for a congenital issue of her heart’s mitral valve. Markieda traveled to St. Louis through WPP at age 8 for open heart surgery to more definitively address her condition with a valve replacement.
But in 2020, it became clear over just a few months that there was a problem with the valve that had serious effects. Markieda was hospitalized and she needed urgent surgery soon.
The miles that separated Markieda from WPP’s partnership at Health City in the Cayman Islands were daunting. Health City was ready to help, but Markieda’s condition was concerning for a long trip on a plane. Then there was the issue of the global pandemic restricting air travel. How would Markieda even get to Grand Cayman?
Through a lot of persistent work, WPP coordinated many resources so that Markieda could board a charter plane on November 9, arrive safely to Health City, and have successful surgery a few weeks later. Her journey was made possible through an orchestration of funding sources and support, including the government of Dominica, foundations in the U.S., and kind-hearted people in the aviation industry. Because of this network working for her, Markieda returned to Dominica on Christmas Day. A month later, Markieda is back to school and back to life as a teenager.