RAMSEY, N.J. – Baby Nathaniel sits on his mother's lap in the Beltramini's Ramsey home.
This was the second time the Beltramini’s hosted a child through Gift of Life, but the first since they had children of their own, twins Corinne and Dane, now 13.
“We wanted them to experience it and remember it,” said Terry Beltramini, who's been hosting Nathanial and his mom since Sept. 13.
It's been about a month since the Nigerian 14-month-old had major surgery to repair a hole in his heart and lung.
The life-saving procedure would not have been possible without efforts from a village of good-doers.
“I am very, very grateful,” Nathaniel’s mother Temitope Komolafe said, bouncing her baby now thriving on his new pacemaker.
The Gift of Life, Bergen Highlands Ramsey Rotary Club, physicians at the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital — who donated their time and services — and Terry and Dawne Beltramini all played key roles in saving baby Nathaniel's life.
Dawne Beltramini spent many days in the hospital with Nathaniel and his mom. She says the difference in the child post-surgery is evident as he's more energetic and alert and eating more.
Beltramini was quick to note how much her Ramsey neighbors helped during Nathaniel’s stay by donating everything from a stroller, car seat and high chair, to diapers and toys.
She also praised Peter Branigan of Wyckoff, a former Catholic Priest who did missionary work in Nigeria, and his wife Wendy. Temitope and Nathaniel also stayed with them for a few days, and Peter frequently visited them in the hospital
Terry – a member of the Rotary Club – wants to ensure other children can get the surgeries they need.
Nathaniel is slated to head home to Nigeria sometime this fall, but the Beltraminis plan on keeping in contact.
“We want to see him running around and chubby. We are excited to follow his progress,” Dawne said.
The Bergen Highlands Ramsey Rotary Club is hosting an Octoberfest Fundraiser on Oct. 29 at the Adorno Fathers in Ramsey from 2-6 pm. Money raised will help children get heart surgery.