By Bart Daniel, Global Health Development Officer, HOPE worldwide
A little over a week ago I returned from Cambodia. Since then, I have celebrated my daughter Hannah’s seventh birthday, my 24th wedding anniversary with my wife, Deirdre, and finally Christmas. This past week has been a time of continual giving, and an opportunity to reflect on what giving means to me, and the impact it has on the world around me.
For 16 years, the generous support by people, like you, for the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE has been amazing - but for those of us living in the U.S., what difference did it make? There were two I met on this trip that reminded me why I want to continually give of both my time and money. Here are their stories…
Mary is one Cambodian teen who doesn’t understand why people in America give, but she knows that she is grateful to be alive today. While most teenagers focus on their boyfriends or girlfriends, make-up, school or sports, Mary had one singular focus - to stay alive…yet she and her family were losing hope.
Mary lives 120 miles from Phnom Penh, in an impoverished province in a poor country. Mary and her family are impoverished rice farmers whose income is solely dependent on the rice harvested from their 1.5 acre rice patty. When conditions are ideal, her father makes $600 for the year.
Suffering for more than a year, Mary and her family desperately sought medical treatment. She went to local clinics, but her condition continued to deteriorate. Finally, her parents’ spent their meager savings to take Mary to the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE. When they arrived, Mary was in serious septic shock. Without medical attention, she had less than 24 hours to live.
It was your sacrificial gifts that allowed doctors save Mary’s life that day. Now, she has completely recovered and ready to get on with her teenage life. Although Mary and her family may not understand why we give…they do know that they are grateful for your donations, which have brought them life.
(photo l-r Brad Akins, Dr. Cornelia Haener, Bob Dunlap Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital Kampot Cambodia)
In addition to the work in Phnom Penh, HOPE worldwide recently began managing the Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital (SKMH) in Kampot, Cambodia. The hospital was built by the Kills, a German family, in memory of their daughter Sonja who died in a tragic accident.
Due to funding constraints, SKMH is currently providing limited out-patient services. However, while it is limited, it is bringing hope and changing the lives of people like Oung Hab. Oung’s life was dramatically changed. He suffered from Type I Diabetes for the past three years. In increasing desperation, Oung went from hospital to hospital attempting to get treatment and care, yet his condition worsened. Willing to try anything, he traveled 50 miles to the SKMH for treatment. When he arrived, Oung was too weak to walk. But, after four days of treatments, his diabetes was stabilized. His strength returned and he is getting his diabetes under control.
Because Sonja Kill is opening in stages, sometimes the hospital does not have the equipment to take care of everyone who comes for help. At HOPE worldwide one of our highest priorities is to secure the funding to purchase the necessary equipment to meet their needs.
Your donations to HOPE worldwide are small sacrifices, but for Mary and Oung, they mean life…a life that we often take for granted. The clock was running out for them, but through the generous support of everyday people, they can live healthy normal lives. Your donation to HOPE worldwide is more than a tax deduction. It is the chance for a healthier future for a father, mother, brother or sister. Ask Mary or Oung…they’ll tell you how your donation changed their life.
(Photo: Oung found help and health after visiting the Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital in Kampot)
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