Twins raise $25,000 for HeartGift to help children with birth defects

Melena was born with a heart defect and underwent surgery when she was a week old.

AUSTIN, Texas — A pair of twins celebrate their transition into adulthood by giving back during the holiday season. They called it their “mitzvah project.”

Melena and Gael Kunik decided that instead of receiving gifts for their bar and bat mitzvahs, they wanted to donate money heart gift. HeartGift helps children who need heart surgery and are born with congenital defects.

Melena knows firsthand what it’s like to have a heart defect. She was born with an atrial and ventricular septal defect and underwent surgery when she was just one week old.

“Dr. Wright and Dr. Fraser were Malena’s lifesavers,” said Agustina Kunik, the mother of Melena and Gael. “It was really all our ideas because it was something that affected us directly and it was always our intention to find a way to give back to the cause that saved our daughter’s life. Her ‘mitzvah project’ focused on raising money for HeartGift.”

Melena and Gael raised $25,000 for HeartGift.

The twins attend Hill County Middle School at Eanes ISD. Melena wants to be a pediatric cardiologist and Gael dreams of becoming a film director.

HeartGift provides life-saving heart surgeries worldwide. Congenital heart defects are a common birth defect in children, according to the organization.

Since 2000, HeartGift has saved more than 600 children from Kenya to India and Nicaragua to the Philippines. Click for more information about HeartGift here.

KVUE on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | youtube Twins raise $25,000 for HeartGift to help children with birth defects

Laura Coffey

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