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Fundraising success paves way for young Urasoe girl's heart transplant

Date Posted: 2011-02-11

It is more than a dream come true for Miu Kaname, a Kamimori Junior High School student, as a campaign to raise エ152 million needed for her to have a heart transplant topped its goal this week.

The 12-year-old suffers from restrictive cardiomyopathy, a life-threatening heart muscle disease. A heart transplant is the only solution, and that is about to become reality. Civic groups and hundreds of Okinawans rallied to her side with fundraising events over the past month, raising more than エ197 million needed to send her to the United States for surgery.

She's slated to travel to New York in early March, where she'll undergo surgery at Columbia University Hospital. Her parents and eight-year-old brother will accompany her and stay at a nearby apartment. Her father, Toshiakiu Kaname, 46, was elated as he entered the Okinawa hospital where Miu is being monitored. "I will protect you" he declared. "I want to show everybody that my daughter is in a high spirited condition."

Her mother, 48-year-old Naomi Kaname, says she's determined to support her daughter, promising to work past anxieties about the impending operation. The "Save Miu Party" raised money with special fundraising activities and musical performances across Okinawa in recent weeks, including a charity concert at Palette Citizens Theater in Naha City that brought eight groups including Okinawa Shogaku High School's chorus, a Hawaii hula team and a blind singer to her cause.

The "Save Miu Party" will officially disband the end of this month, but members say they'll still accept inquiries and donations. The contact number (098) 877-0666 remains operational, but will later be routed to a corporate representative. At a news conference at Okinawa Prefectural Headquarters, the Kaname family thanked the community for its loyal support and enthusiasm.

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