Okinawa rallies to save 12-year-old boy

12-year-old Rai Matsushima is waiting for a heart transplant.

A 12-year-old Chatan youngster’s life hangs in the balance today, dependent upon the generosity of Okinawans to help him get a new heart.

Rai Matsushima was a normal youngster until encountering symptoms of a common cold last December.  By summer, his condition deteriorated rapidly and he was diagnosed with massive cardiomyopathy and was placed on a life supporting mechanical heart.  Doctors say surgery is necessary immediately, but in Japan that’s difficult because there’s a shortage of donors for organ transplants, meaning he could wait up to three years for one.  Doctors say that’s impossible.

The boy’s family has decided to seek treatment in the United States at Columbia University Hospital in New York, a process that will cost an estimated ¥215 million ($2.2 million).  A network for donations has been established across Okinawa, both with banks and businesses.  Donation boxes may even be placed in AEON Chatan and other shops in the community.

Bank accounts can be easily used for donations. The name on each account is: RAIKUNWOSUKUUKAI, which translates to “Charity of Saving Rai.”

The bank accounts ready for donations are:

*The Bank of Okinawa/ Chatan branch/savings account/No. 1522272/no charge

*The Bank of the Ryukyus/ Chatan branch/savings account/No. 505384/no charge

*The Okinawa Kaiho Bank/ Chatan branch/savings account/No. 0509951

*Koza Shinkin Bank/ Chatan branch/savings account/No. 0160176

*JA Bank/ Chatan branch/savings account/No. 0013539/no charge

*Japan Post Bank/ branch number 708/savings account/No.1484346

*Okinawa Roudou Kinko/ Koza branch/savings account/No. 3410544

As of October 5th donations amount to ¥28,400,466 in the accounts. The goal is ¥215,000,000. Daily donation updates are available at  http://rai-aid.com/donation/.

The family explains the breakdown of the required ¥215 million:

Deposit                                                        ¥162,000,000

Medical care reserve fund                         ¥13,500,000

Travel expenses                                           ¥23,000,000

Partial mechanical heart-related costs ¥10,000,000

Cost of staying in the U.S.                           ¥5,000,000

Clerical work expenses                                 ¥1.500,000

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Total                                                              ¥215,000,000