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Faced with disasters, war, economic despair and disease, millions of struggling people found the strength to carry on in 2009. Despite daunting conditions, AmeriCares delivered $1 billion worth of vital medical aid here at home and around the world. As 2009 comes to a close, we look back on some of the men, women and children who were touched by the generosity and goodwill of AmeriCares supporters.
Diego, El SalvadorDiego was born prematurely and by 11 months old, he couldn’t crawl, sit by himself or play games with other children his age. He was diagnosed with severe nutrition and was suffering serious developmental delays. After starting the AmeriCares-supported Pounds of Love program, he quickly improved. Today, Diego is a healthy 2-year-old who walks, runs and loves to play ball with the other kids.
Rani and Rika,Sumatra Earthquake, IndonesiaFew children remained in the villages devastated by earthquakes in Indonesia last fall. A relief worker met two little girls, Rani and Rika, whose parents were recovering from serious injuries at a hospital where AmeriCares was delivering relief supplies. The girls put on a brave face, but were frightened and looked forward to their parents’ return.
Pedro*, Dominican RepublicPedro was playing soccer after school one day when he felt a snap. No one would have expected that six months later he’d still be bedridden with a broken leg that wouldn’t heal. Severe malnutrition left Pedro with weak bones and a fragile immune system. He wasn’t strong enough to survive the surgery to fix his leg. AmeriCares donated critical antibiotics that helped enable volunteer doctors to perform an operation to help Pedro walk again without risking his death from a serious infection.
Renatus, Tanzania, AfricaRenatus was just a baby when his first bout of heart trouble struck. Doctors told his parents he had a birth defect that caused his tiny heart to race, but with ongoing treatment, he could live a normal, healthy life. Renatus is now a six-year-old school boy who makes monthly trips to get medicines and treatment from AmeriCares partners at the Bugando Medical Center. AmeriCares regularly sends medicines and supplies to help Renatus and other Tanzanian children with heart problems.
Tom*, West Virginia, USATom made a comfortable living and had good health benefits – until cancer turned his world upside down. After months of agonizing treatments, doctors removed Tom’s left lung to save his life. Tom beat cancer, but the battle left him unemployed, uninsured and broke. He gets check ups and some of his medications at an AmeriCares affiliate clinic. Despite hard times, Tom gets basic health care and hopes for the best until he can find work again.
Mariama, Niger, AfricaMariama suffered from fistula, a birthing injury which destroyed her bowel and bladder control. Filled with shame, she was abandoned by her husband and shunned by society. After years of despair, her life was transformed by a team of medical volunteers who receive AmeriCares donations of medicines and surgical supplies. Surgeons successfully repaired her injury and restored her health. Today, Mariama works as a nurse’s aide, helping other women living with the same condition.
Salem, Victim of Taliban Violence, PakistanSalem was buying milk when Taliban militants attacked the shopkeeper, then turned their fists and clubs on him. Violence between his government and the Taliban caught thousands in the crossfire. Salem and his family joined millions fleeing the formerly peaceful Swat Valley. AmeriCares sent emergency airlifts of medical and humanitarian aid to help innocent men, women and children who were refugees in their own land. Despite the devastation, Salem and his family bravely resolved to return and rebuild their lives.
Every $100 in contributions AmeriCares receives from supporters helps deliver over $3,500 in critical aid to people like Rani, Mariama and Diego. No one can predict what 2010 will bring, but making a tax-deductible donation will ensure AmeriCares is ready to help, wherever and whenever we are needed.
*Names changed for patient safety and privacy.