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In 2012, the Cuomo Foundation, in collaboration with La Chaine de L’Espoir, travelled to Dakar, Senegal, to conduct a medical humanitarian mission.

Awa Gueye, a young Senegalese girl with a severe cardio condition, was among those who directly benefited from this mission. Prof. Gilles Dreyfus, the internationally renowned cardio surgeon and a member of the board of the Cuomo Foundation, performed Awa’s life-changing surgery to correct rheumatic mitral valve regurgitation. The successful outcome enabled Awa to return to a normal life and complete her secondary schooling. The Foundation maintained contact with Awa over the subsequent years and in 2017 invited her to attend ,as a special young guest speaker, the Women World Leaders Gala event held at the Hotel de Paris ( photo below).

Also in 2017, the Foundation agreed to fund Awa in her college undergraduate studies in Applied Biology and Chemical Engineering. She graduated successfully in 2020 and the Foundation further funded her in a Master’s programme at the University of Dakar.

In 2021, the Foundation arranged for Awa to travel to Paris, France where she was operated on once more by Prof. Gilles Dreyfus to ‘adapt and adjust’ her heart to her ever-changing physical development.

This Autumn, Awa successfully applied to the University of Nantes in France to study for a 1 yr. degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology. The Foundation will continue to fund and support Awa in her academic ambitions and is proud of her achievements and her abilities to overcome the many challenges she has faced so far.

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