Dr Jay Lavee at Larnaca international airport lading the Icebox with the harvest heart on the aircraft that will fly them to “sheba” Medical Centre in Israel.
Dr Jay Lavee porfoming heart transplant on Andreas Miltiaou in "sheba" Israel
Andreas Miltiaou one week afterheart Heart transplant 1998
Andreas Miltiaou 2006 Cyprus
Μιλτιάδου with simerini ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΥ 2007
Μιλτιάδου and Vloch at the Premiere screening Tel Aviv Cinematheqe Israel January 28th 2007
Producer Director Tzvika Vloch receiving A Special Jury Mention ward at 2nd CIFF CYPRUS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2007 Foto: George Michael
Against Time: A film about heart transplant - by Marios Demetriou Simerini Cyprus
April 22, 2007 By: Marios Demetriou. Translated to English from Simeini Cyprus
It was indeed a “race against time” in Andreas Miltiadou’s case, who flew urgently to Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv in June 1998 where he underwent a heart transplant by the team of the Israeli heart surgeon Jay Lavee.
The Israeli director and producer Tzvika Vloch called his film “Race against time” shown at the 2nd International Film Festival on 18 April 2007, which deals with the subject of heart transplant, while recording the events as they took place in the months and years to follow.
It is a breath taking 50-minute documentary which records step by step the journey of the Israeli doctors to Cyprus (the Paraskevaidio Transplant Center in Nicosia) where they received the heart of a 36-year-old Cypriot woman who was brain dead after a car accident in Aglantzia. The heart was taken to Israel and transplanted to dying Andreas Miltiadou, 65 years old at the time. The film follows Miltiadou, his wife and his children for many years after their return to Cyprus, as well as the miraculous improvement of his health and the quality of his life, as a result of the transplant.
A steady friendship
The film, which began in June 1998 and finished in January 2007, is not just a recorded testimony of the victory of life over death through Andreas Miltiadou’s experience, it is also a pretext for a long and strong friendship to be born between the director and the Miltiadou family that continues to our days. The film ends with Andreas Miltiadou’s birthday party with his wife, sons, daughter and grandchildren around him. “I wish to present a different perspective of organ donation,” said the director whom we met last week at the Miltiadou home. “I wish to send an optimistic message and give the world the hope that a person can have a normal life after the transplant. I also wish to say how big a change can be brought through an organ transplant to someone’s life. Andreas comes every year to Israel and I stay with him all day, but this has nothing to do with the film, it has to do with the personal friendship and respect that has developed between us with the passing of years.”
“It was a miracle”
Miltiadou’s wife explains the seriousness of his condition which started in 1989 and made Andreas unable even to walk. His health improved a little when he visited Israel in 1994 and he was put on the transplant list. In the hospital, in Tel Aviv, they met Tzvika who started filming everything. At the time they were not sure he would ever come out of it alive and yet, the heart was found and from then on everything went on smoothly. It was a miracle. They will never forget the kindness and professionalism of the Israeli doctors. A month after the transplant, they returned to Cyprus and Tzvika also followed them to continue shooting. Andreas and his wife consider Tzvika as a brother; he had stood by them in a foreign country the language of which they didn’t know.
A humanistic film
The film was first shown in Israel on 28 January 2007 in the presence of the Miltiadou family and other Israeli journalists that gave a wide coverage of the event.
Tzvika said: “As an Israeli who had never been to Cyprus before 1998, I feel proud to have been able to make a film on a story like this in another country and for a man I communicate with in a way that goes beyond language. I am proud and feel privileged because, as an Israeli, I made a film that is humane and does not contain acts of violence or war.”
In Karaolos not in Auschwitz
Tzvika’s acquaintance with the Miltiadou family gave him the chance to find out that his parents got married in Cyprus in 1946 and specifically in the Famagusta Karaolos Camp (a British Colonial camp) and not in Auschwitz, as he had thought up until that time. His grandparents were murdered there one day before they were liberated by the Russians. On its trip to Israel, the ship that carried his parents was intercepted by the British who took them to Karaolos, where they got married before they were set free.
from prmire screening of Tzvika Vloch film A Race Against Time Tel Aviv Cinematheqe. January 28th 2007