A Family’s Life Made Easier -- A single mother with three children came to Hands Across the Americas' clinic, and her middle child was paralyzed due to complications resulting from a simple case of the chicken pox. The mother had to carry her 5-year old son wherever they went. She also had a one-year old who needed to be carried. The oldest child, a 7-year old boy, would split the responsibility of carrying the two younger children. Clearly, this is not a sustainable way for this family to fulfill their daily routines. Our team was immediately touched by the 7-year old boy who cared for his two siblings so lovingly and without a single complaint. We provided a special pediatric wheelchair for the 5-year old child, a life-changing contribution for the whole family!
In July 2013, Hands Across the Americas completed their seventh medical mission in Cusco, Peru. A team of 32 volunteers from the US and 25 in-country volunteers provided services in primary care, optometry, orthopedics, dentistry and more. Each year, they identify several patients who need more care than we can provide during the medical missions. They work quickly to find the resources to help these patients. The following success stories inspire them to continue their great work year after year.
Hands Across the Americas found a 40-year old woman who needed cornea transplants in both eyes. She was otherwise in good health, but her vision was rapidly deteriorating and she was resigned to the fact that she would grow old blind. Hands Across the Americas flew the woman to Lima in August and performed pro-bono surgeries on both eyes.
A Child's Life Changed
On the 2008 medical mission in Cusco, we found Carmen Rosa, a young girl who was having unexplained seizures. Our pediatricians thought that the seizures could be life-threatening and that Carmen Rosa needed immediate medical attention. Hands Across the Americas paid for Carmen Rosa and her father to travel to Lima, where she spent a week in the hospital undergoing tests. Physicians in Lima confirmed her diagnosis of epilepsy and started her on medication. Carmen Rosa responded very well to the medicine and her seizures stopped. Every year since, we see her on the annual medical missions and we bring her a year’s supply of medication, perform an annual check up and labwork, and review the appropriate disease education information with her and her family. Today, Carmen Rosa is seizure-free, in 3rd grade and is a healthy and happy little girl.
And that's just the beginning! Here are more 2013 highlights:
- Dispensed $40,000 worth of medicines, including 10 glaucoma patients who received a full year’s supply of medicine
- Performed 40 cataract surgeries
- Provided 20 adult wheelchairs, 2 child wheelchairs and multiple canes and walkers
- Dispensed first time mothers gift bags
- Dispensed personal care gifts, filled with toothpaste, toothbrushes, towels, soap, etc.
- Conducted educational programs in personal hygiene
One of YCW's supporters, Livi Diaz Moreno, is making the 2014 journey to give her time and talents to the Peruvian people. To donate to her cause, click here, or visit http://handsacrosstheamericas.org/ to find out how you can get involved!