Due to the surreal and exciting nature of this situation, I thought it appropriate for me to take the time to express not only my gratitude for the support we have gotten, but how this step represents for us one of the first steps towards the kind of sustainability we are looking for in our support of these children and their families.
Justine finally getting her heart surgery is such a huge step in the right direction first and foremost for Justine, but also for The Patience Project. As a reminder of the background of this surgery, Justine, one of our little ones with Down Syndrome, has two holes in her heart, causing nearly all of her calories to be devoted to keeping her heart beating rather than helping her grow. Because of this, when we first met her, she was only nine pounds at seven months! After meeting with a doctor in Accra in May, we determined that fixing the bigger of the holes in her heart via surgery would be the best option. Justine and her mother have traveled back and forth to Accra many times, but the surgery kept getting postponed. Finally, as of Monday, baby Justine had the surgery. Though I’m not one for numbers, supporting this procedure only cost $1000, a mind-blowingly low number in comparison to what something like that might cost here.
This surgery is exactly what this project is about: giving people the means to help themselves. What this surgery means for Justine is an opportunity to grow into a healthy young girl, young woman, and then adult. Because she can be more physically capable, she can be more capable in so many other exciting ways, and we are thrilled to be able to help her take that first step. Justine’s mother has shown incredible dedication to her little one as well. Despite having eight other children without a dad at home, she has traveled far and spent many hours at various hospitals in countless appointments, and it has paid off. It is this kind of dedication that inspires us. It is this kind of dedication that we wish to support in whatever way we can.
Having a child with a disability can come with a lot of stigma in Ghana, but when we encourage these mothers to see all the opportunities their children have, it’s amazing to see that enthusiasm that shines through them. That have an unparalleled dedication, and I feel honored to have gotten to experience its impacts at various times during my trips there.
Giving people the means to take a situation into their own hands–that’s what we are trying to do here. It’s sustainable. It’s exciting. And we have so much to learn.