A Message From our PRINCIPAL
I would like to welcome you to The International School of Moscow’s #HeartForMelisa charity donation website.
In 2017, our Year 12 student Melisa Erdem was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and was battling for her life in the intensive care unit of an Istanbul hospital.
Happily, Melisa was released from intensive care. However, living with this condition meant that Melisa would be tied to hospitals for the rest of her life.
A heart transplant became the only solution for Melisa to live a normal life.
Melisa has recently developed an infection. Doctors have advised that she should undergo a heart transplant in the next four months.
Operations such as this are long, complicated and extremely expensive.
As a school, we have an illustrious history of charity fundraising. As a treasured member of our ISM family, we would like to raise the necessary 1,100,000 Euros to enable Melisa to lead a healthy, happy life with a new heart.
Thank you very much to everyone who has contributed so far to our #HeartforMelisa fund. I am delighted to announce that we have raised an incredible 869,000 Euros since the start of our campaign. This is more money than our school has ever raised before for a single charity.
Now, we aim to raise the additional 231,000 Euros. For this reason, we will be focussing all of our school’s forthcoming charity fundraising activities to raise the additional funds that will allow Melisa to undergo heart transplant surgery.
Our students and staff members have been tirelessly brainstorming ideas for fundraising activities. You can find all the details about upcoming opportunities to help us raise money for Melisa’s heart transplant here, on our website.
Nothing would give us greater satisfaction than helping Melisa, one of our own, obtain a new heart and a new, happy life.
Thank you very much indeed for your support.
Mr Paul Keach
Message from the Erdem Family - May 2019
My name is Yalcin Erdem, and for the past year the ISM community have offered my family support through our most difficult times. I wanted to thank you all and to update you with our situation.
In the summer of 2017, our daughter Melisa unexpectedly developed a very serious heart disease. Our doctor, Professor Mehmet Balkanay diagnosed Melisa with myocarditis, and informed us that she would need a full heart transplant to reach adulthood.
Our world, our hopes, and our happiness disappeared in a moment.
Searching for a Hospital
From that summer, we lived through many difficult moments in which only time could predict the future. Our daughter lived for more than three months in intensive care, leaving our whole family frustrated and desperate. Organ transplantation in Turkey is very limited, so our medical centre suggested we take Melisa to Germany.
Unfortunately, the Cardiology Centre in Berlin would not work with Melisa, due to the state that she was in. However, Professor Felix Berger informed us of a popular Organ Transplantation Association encompassing Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Serbia.
The Giessen Institute has special permission to work with patients from Turkey, and informed us that they would be able to conduct the procedure. However, the full cost (including insurance and tax) would be 1.1 million Euros.
A Turn for the Worse
In September, 2017, Melisa’s condition suddenly worsened and our situation looked very dark. On one day, she required twelve hours of surgery, during which her heart stopped twice, for more than ten minutes. We came so close to losing her. The doctor’s work that day over many hours, saved Melisa’s life.
Where We Are Today
From that time, Melisa has required connection to an external heart pump device. After some time, we managed to obtain a compact device which she is able to wear. This allowed her to finally return to Russia and even attend school once again.
For the moment, our daughter’s condition is still stable. The electronic device connects directly to her heart and keeps her alive, but she still requires a heart transplant for the years to come. We are advised to wait as long as possible, because of the risks of the surgery. But the time will come when the surgery is needed.
ISM Families Support Melisa
Since the start of 2018, we have been honoured by the support we have received from our ISM school family. In our darkest time, many families have reached out through contributions and donations, to help us achieve a new heart for Melisa. Together with contributions from BASF (my employer) and the school, we have already raised 630,900 euros.
We are past half way, and we believe in a future for our daughter. Thank you! We are so grateful for everything the school community has done for us. With the biggest thanks to the whole school; you are all like a second family to us. You are our heartbeat!
We are still fighting for our daughter, so if you would like to make a contribution, send a message to Melisa, or ask more questions, you are welcome to contact me using the information below.
Thank you from my heart, and from my whole family.
Yalcin Erdem and family