"We have a long way to go ... I am grateful for walking with us through this journey.”
- Kevin's mother, a one-year-old Watsi patient in Kenya
I started my morning today reviewing new Watsi patients that came in overnight and reading the updates on how our patients are doing after surgery. This morning's set was filled with smiles of patients who now have a better shot at a full life ahead. But it was the words of one mother in particular that stopped me.
The message was from the mom of Kevin, a one-year-old who recently suffered severe burns when he was learning to crawl. He accidentally fell into the fire in their grandmother's home kitchen. Kevin will likely need more surgeries as he grows, but his family is relieved that he has finally started to get the care that he needs. They feel a sense of renewed hope. His mom said: "I am grateful for walking with us through this journey."
Her words reminded me of a recent podcast with Brené Brown that talked about the concept of acompañar: to walk together. At a time of unprecedented physical distance, a bright spot has been humanity's ability to show up for one another, to still be at each other's sides through hard times. Our actions have shown that we will not just stand by during someone else's suffering, we will be there for them and their family during their moment of greatest need.
At Watsi, I saw this when our long-time supporter Cecelia rallied her friends together to fund surgery for Nshemereirwe in Uganda who had painful uterine fibroids, like Cecelia had previously overcome herself.
I felt this when a young family who has spent the last year and a half working tirelessly to help COVID patients in their own community, stepped up with a generous donation to Watsi's COVID-19 Emergency Fund this summer. They joined 41 other donors who raised more than $25,000 in just two weeks to help strangers on the other side of the world who were hit hard by the double burden of the Delta variant and the humanitarian crisis in Burma.
I also felt this deeply in the tears of the young mom from Venezuela when she found out that, through Watsi and our incredible new medical partner Clínica Noel, her four-year-old son Jhonatan could finally get the care he needs for his birth condition.
I saw this last month when 79 supporters, who already do so much, stepped up to help us make the most of our Universal Fund match opportunity and found a way in their lives to give even more to support Watsi patients around the world.
And, I heard this too in the voice of Kanchana who leads our medical partner Burma Children Medical Fund, as she reflected on the crisis in Burma saying:
"How can one country suffer so much? We just have to try to do what we can, to help who we can."
I'm so inspired that Watsi's community is doing whatever we can to help. And, I feel so humbled that because of your kindness, compassion, and support, we can be there to walk with our patients on their journey to a healthier future. As we begin this season of gratitude and giving, I hope you'll join me in restoring hope for another family like Kevin's and walking with a patient in need.
With tremendous gratitude,
Mackinnon, Executive Director