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World Transplant Day: A Celebration of Life and a Call for Urgent Action

June 6th marks World Transplant Day (WTD), a day promoted by the World Health Organization and National Transplant Organizations to celebrate the remarkable gift of organ donation. This day serves as a reminder that countless lives around the world have been saved and transformed through the generosity of organ donors.


It is a day to honor the selfless heroes – donors and their families – who have given the extraordinary gift of life, to recognize the resilience and strength of transplant recipients, and to stand in solidarity with those who are still on the transplant waiting list.

Organ donation is a profound act that transforms grief into hope, loss into legacy, and despair into the promise of a brighter future. It bridges the gap between life and loss, creating a legacy that resonates through generations.

However, amidst the celebrations of life and survival, there is a pressing and heart-breaking situation unfolding in Gaza. Sadeel Hamdan, a nine-month-old baby girl, is in desperate need of a lifesaving liver transplant. According to her doctors, without a medical evacuation for urgent treatment, Sadeel could die.

Sadeel Hamdan has severe ascites where fluid accumulates in the belly.

Dr. Abed, a pediatrician at Al Aqsa Hospital and member of the NGO “Children not Numbers,” has been vocal about Sadeel’s critical condition. She suffers from liver cirrhosis, which has caused severe ascites – a condition where fluid accumulates in the abdomen. Dr. Abed has issued a dire appeal to “save Sadeel’s life,” stressing that she faces death within days without a medical evacuation.

“No words can describe what we are seeing,” said Dr. Abed. Sadeel’s parents are desperate for her to leave Gaza to receive the transplant that could save her life. They emphasize that “every minute counts” and that she has “no chance” if she remains in the hospital.

The urgency of Sadeel’s situation is compounded by the closure of the Rafah crossing, which has trapped her and other critically ill patients inside Gaza. Previous efforts to secure medical treatment for Sadeel abroad were thwarted when the crossing was closed on May 7, following Israel’s takeover of the border. This closure has been described by health officials and advocates as “a death sentence.”

The war on hospitals in Gaza

Somaya Ouazzani and Sarah Ben Tarifite, the British founders of “Children not Numbers,” expressed their frustration and sorrow. “We secured approval for Sadeel’s medical evacuation out of Gaza shortly before the crossing closed on May 6,” they said. “Since then, with each day that has passed and the crossing has remained closed, she’s got closer and closer to death. We had a golden window of opportunity several weeks ago to evacuate her when she was stable and responding well to medications whilst she awaited an urgent liver transplant. But the crossing’s closure may very well cost her life.”

Tragically, Sadeel’s case is not an isolated one. The United Nations, World Health Organization (WHO), and several global NGOs have continuously appealed for the protection of hospitals throughout the conflict. Over the past eight months, Gaza’s healthcare system has been devastated, with more than two-thirds of hospitals not functioning due to attacks from both air and ground. According to the WHO, the conflict has resulted in over 100,000 reported Palestinian casualties, a significant portion of which are children. Gaza’s Ministry of Health reports that more than 15,000 children have been killed and tens of thousands injured.

The urgency of Sadeel’s situation is compounded by the closure of the Rafah crossing

On this World Transplant Day, as we celebrate the gift of life and the miracles made possible by organ donation, let us also remember and act for those like Sadeel Hamdan. Her story highlights the urgent need for international intervention and support to ensure that lifesaving medical treatments are accessible to all, regardless of geopolitical barriers. Sadeel’s life hangs in the balance, a stark reminder of the critical importance of global solidarity and humanitarian action.


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