#7D4H - Isabel Kumwembe & Lorraine Matenda #HeartDisease

Introduction: Today's blog is an incredibly special one coming to us from Malawi, a small country in Southern Africa surrounded by Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia. Our guest blogger is a dear friend of mine, Isabel Kumwembe who is the Programs and Operations Associate for Global Health Corps in Malawi. Isabel and I were co-fellows together last year at the Art & Global Health Center Africa in Zomba. Isabel's words of advocacy are in support of Lorraine Matenda who is currently battling severe dilated cardiomyopathy for her life. Read Lorraine's story today, and support "A Heart for Lorraine". 

Words from Isabel Kumwembe: We all want it, we all try to preserve it and we all have the right to it-health.

Health is something so special yet something we often take for granted. When we fall out of it we often try to do everything in our power to get it back. However, when everything in one’s power is not enough to get back their own health, then it becomes more than one’s problem…it becomes everyone’s problem. Confronted by the need of an emergency $70,000 surgery that one does not have, ones right to health is infringed upon, and it is up to society to make sure we do something about this.

This is thestory of Lorraine Matenda, whose story hastouched the heart of many Malawians. Lorraine is a beautiful young Malawian girl, and is fighting for her life in hospital right now. Lorraine has heart disease specifically 'severe dilated cardiomyopathy' and is in need of emergency surgery and a new heart. The surgery cost $70,000 and her family is in need of financial support as this is an enormous cost for them to handle alone.  

In light of this, a go-fund-me campaign titled "A Heart for Lorraine" was created as a way for people to stand in solidarity and healing with Lorraine from around the globe by donating towards her surgical needs. In Malawi, people can also donate locally through: “Friends of Lorraine Matenda. The account number is 5230434118, Blantyre Branch.” 

We want to get Lorraine’s story out as far and wide as possible to get more donations, and to raise awareness for severe dilated cardiomyopathy, as well as health equity across the globe. To get people to think about Lorraine and heart disease, we could not think of a better way than to join forces with 7 Dresses 4 Health. On Friday, 9 January 2015, we want everyone to wear blue in solidarity 7 dresses for health blue theme for heart disease. I do not know, nor have I ever met Lorraine, but after all this is over I intend to give her a hug and tell her: “You gave us all the blues for a second there.”

Messages from Lorraines Family:

Dear Friends, Family, and Donors,

Our youngest sister, Lorraine Matenda, was suddenly and recently diagnosed with cardiomyopathy with heart failure. Lorraine Matenda is a bright, intelligent, young, beautiful girl, with so much spirit her joy is infectious. She is a young woman who lets her faith in God carry her everyday. Lorraine would do whatever is in her power to help those in need.

She is in her final year of high school and recently finished an internship with a law firm as she aspires to help others through law.

Currently she is in intensive care and needs all of our love and support.

It pains us to write this, as this brings to reality the gravity of the situation she is in. When she started to get sick we did not understand the full magnitude of her disease. Like most people you think a cough is just a cough, but in her case that cough gave way to this unimaginable disease that we are now praying she can overcome.

We ask each of you to help us in our time of need. We, the Matenda children, are kindly seeking your assistance in saving the life of a bright, kind hearted, spirited young Malawian girl.

We are seeking funds to ensure that this sudden and complex illness of her heart can ensure that she receives proper treatment now and for future incurring costs which includes the planning of a heart transplant as per recommendation of her doctor.

We thank you all in advance for your generous donations. Your best efforts and love for Lo are very much appreciated. Thank you all for your continued support, prayers and love Lots of love from us

- The Matenda Family

I know 7 dresses for health will make a positive difference in the lives of many people…including Lorraine. Thank you for your interest in this.

Lots of Love,


Call to action: Today's call to action is special- we are asking that everyone standing in solidarity and love with Lorraine will 1) consider donating to "A Heart for Lorraine" and 2) will wear blue and send us a picture of yourself as support to Lorraine and her family. You can tweet pictures @ArtsConnectInt, or you can email them to 7dresses@artsconnectinternational.org, or post them on our FB page: www.facebook.com/artsconnectinternational. Thank you in advance for your support! 

About today's look: All of the dresses for 7 Dresses 4 Health were designed and sown by Kim's Fashion Design. Love the look? Visit Kim at 100 Huntington Ave, Boston MA 02116, call her at (617) 267-9299 or email her: info@kimsfashion.com. Mention 7 Dresses 4 Health for a special discount!

Campaign Update (2017): All 7 Dresses 4 Health blogs were migrated from a former site, so the sharing analytics are inconsistent from when they were first published. We apologize to our guest bloggers, and readers, for this inconvenience. That said, the campaign garnered an average of 5K hits per blog, over 500,000 readers throughout 2015! Additionally, the average number of shares per guest blog was over 150x on social media (through Facebook and Twitter). Thank you for making this incredible campaign possible - and for all that it was for so many. With gratitude, Marian & the ACI Team