Rai Matsushima ready to travel to U.S. for heart transplant

13-year-old Rai Matsushima who is fighting a serious heart disease and waiting for a heart transplant surgery in the U.S., thanks to the community effort that earned the necessary funds for the operation, is scheduled to travel to the U.S. on Dec. 10th.

According to the Charity of Saving Rai, he goes first to the University of Tokyo Hospital on Tuesday, and then on to Colombia University in New York.  The day for the surgery has not been scheduled yet. Rai’s parents wrote a letter thanking everyone island wide for the “goodwill people have shown, to help us to stand at the starting line. We are eternally grateful, and very much appreciate everything.”

The office of the Charity of Saving Rai in Chatan is scheduled to close on Dec. 10th while the bank accounts for donations will stay open until Rai comes back to Okinawa.  Further information on Rai while in the U.S. can be checked on the website of the Charity of Saving Rai at http://rai-aid.com/

In the U.S., Yoshiharu Higa, a professor at the Long Island University, is launching a support group for Rai and his family, to take care of needs of their daily life. This group consists of Okinawan expatriates and Japanese Americans in the U.S.  Currently, more than 20 people have raised their hands to support Rai and his family before and after the surgery during their stay in the U.S.  Key members of the group also supported Miyu Kaname, a young girl from Urasoe, and her parents during their stay in the U.S. , when she had a heart transplant in 2011.