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For nearly two years, Jaquelin, a 17-year-old girl who lives with her family deep in the Chapare jungle of Bolivia, suffered from stomach pains. Not just an ordinary stomach ache, but pain and swelling so severe that she eventually had to stop going to school.
Jaquelin became increasingly emaciated as her abdomen swelled bigger and bigger, causing the pains in her belly to get worse. To pass the day, she worked in her family’s fields planting and harvesting bananas and yucca, but even this became unbearable. Finally, her family brought Jaquelin to the nearest hospital, two hours away. There she was diagnosed with a massive tumor that would require expensive surgery—something her parents could not afford as farmers living on a meager income.
Determined to find help for their suffering daughter, they went to the public hospital in far-off Cochabamba. Here at Hospital Viedma, Jaquelin and her family learned that doctors from the United States would soon be arriving with medicines from AmeriCares that would enable them to perform surgeries for people in dire need of help.
Through its Medical Outreach Program, AmeriCares donates medicines and medical supplies to U.S.-based health care professionals providing volunteer medical care to people in desperate need in over 70 countries around the world. Solidarity Bridge, a nonprofit organization located in Chicago, is one partner that relies on donated products from AmeriCares to carry out its medical mission trips to Bolivia.
Jaquelin soon received the critical surgery she needed from the volunteer doctors at Solidarity Bridge who removed a 25-pound tumor that turned out to be benign.
“Jaquelin is now walking around, smiling happily and eating ravenously for the first time in a long, long time. She is full of life! Her case, and the many others we see, would not be possible without the support from AmeriCares,” said Ann Rhomberg, Solidarity Bridge mission coordinator.
In 2010, the Medical Outreach Program provided nearly $62 million worth of critical medicines and supplies to 1,061 teams working overseas or providing charitable orthopedic surgeries in the U.S.