When six-year-old Jora Krasniqi and her mom, Atdhetare, arrived at St. Francis Hospital after traveling 5,500 miles from their home in Prestina, the capital of Kosovo, Dr. Sean Levchuck had the indispensable services of the proprietor of a Port Washington restaurant to communicate with his new patient.
Fluent in nine languages, chef Freddie Sadiku, of Toscanini Ristorante Italiano, has volunteered his services over the past two years translating and comforting children from around the world.
To further the connection, the highlight of Jora’s first full day in the United States was a four-course lunch prepared by the chefs at the Toscanini Ristorante Italiano at 179 Main Street in Port Washington, which is becoming an important part of Gift of Life health care at Saint Francis.
Jora suffers from a congenital heart condition known as an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) which, if untreated, will lead to premature death. The Gift of Life Program, established by Long Island Rotary Clubs, has provided life-saving children’s heart surgeries at St. Francis Hospital since the 1980s. The generosity of Dr. Levchuck and Catholic Health Services of Long Island, working with Gift of Life volunteers like Freddie Sadiku, has saved hundreds of children from around the world.
Gift of Life International brought Jora to Long Island for state-of-the-art catheter-based surgery that will correct the child’s ASD condition and give her a full life expectancy.
Dr. Levchuck, director of pediatric cardiology at St. Francis, will perform Jora’s surgery for no fee, as he does for between one and two dozen Gift of Life children every year.
St. Francis is one of only two hospitals on Long Island that extends its facilities to Gift of Life children.
And Freddie must be one of few Long Islanders who can translate Serbian and also whip up a tasty calamari Luciana.