When The Red Thread team sees the faintest glimmer of hope to improve the life of a child with a disability, we JUMP! Each child is treated as if they are our own. We explore every option imaginable, even if it means coming to Haiti to accompany two blind boys to the ophthalmologist.
So that’s just what we did. This past Thursday, Sonya took two St. Vincent’s students—Frenel and Geraldo—to see one of the most highly regarded ophthalmologists in Haiti.
The testing process was very thorough, allowing the doctor to see the tiniest details of each boy’s eyes to help determine if either would be eligible for further treatment to restore any bit of sight.
The doctor explained two very different procedures that might be an option for Frenel, following the results of one additional test that will be performed at a later date. Both surgeries present serious risk factors that need to be considered before any course of action is decided upon, discussions that will involve the surgeon, Frenel’s mother, St. Vincent’s, and The Red Thread.
At the conclusion of the appointment, Sonya had the opportunity to speak with the doctor about The Red Thread’s care for these boys. She explained that we treat each child as though they are our own flesh and blood, doing everything we can to improve their health and wellbeing. She clarified that we would seek specialists in Haiti to perform any recommended procedures, and, only when all in-country options have been exhausted, would we put a child through the potential trauma international travel for treatment.
With this reassurance, he smiled broadly, and shook Sonya’s hand.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to see the world tilt a little toward the good. Last night was one of those times.
There was Kyle, riding his horse, Dallas. Alongside were his therapist and his horse handler. He’d just completed a matching and sequencing exercise, concentrating intensely.
He urged the horse forward, using his muscles, and Dallas began to trot gently. Suddenly Kyle was laughing, filling the entire indoor arena with the sound.
“This is music to my ears,” said Kelli, Kyle’s mom.
Kyle completed one six-week session of hippotherapy over the summer. Amy, his therapist, reports that his core strength increased and continues to increase, his balance has improved, and toward the end of the six weeks, she saw (and heard) him vocalizing much more. And at this first night of fall session, he picked right up where he left off, retaining the strength and skill he’d gained.
We at Jacob’s Fund love hippotherapy, because we see the results.
But what we love more than anything is the change that happens to families when their child is at last able to communicate his needs, or to express the pleasure she feels when playing with her brothers and sisters. When a child that could not stand alone walks, that is a miracle. When a little one that could not talk whispers “Good night, Mommy” families’ lives are transformed. When a child gets out of the car at the carpool drop off and is greeted by another child and they walk away hand in hand, an inexorably heavy weight is lifted off a parent’s heart.
We’re thrilled, as we know our GlobalGiving donors are, that Kyle is growing in strength and capability. We eagerly look forward, as you do, to seeing him reach new goals.
But we’re ecstatic that, last evening, as the sun began to set over the rolling hills and farmlands that surround Hilltop Equestrian Center, Kyle, not waiting for his parents to hold his hand, hurried into the barn to find his horse and begin riding.
Independence is a precious gift, especially to people with disabilities. Each time The Red Thread Promise gives an All Terrain Wheelchair (ATW) to an impoverished child, teen or adult in Haiti, we shift the paradigm from immobility toward mobility. Through these gifts—gifts that you have made possible—lives are being changed.
In the US and other countries, many resources are available for people who can't walk:
These opportunities give a wheelchair-bound person the chance to actively engage in life, moving about in their homes, schools and communities.
The scenario is quite different for a person under the same circumstances in a developing country like Haiti:
But there is hope!
We are committed to raising the funds for another full container of wheelchairs that will change more lives. Each shipment holds 100 - 120 ATWs plus maintenance parts. These durable wheelchairs are made from inexpensive bicycle parts that keep the cost low—$350 each—and simplify upkeep and maintenance. They are specifically designed to pass over Haiti's rough terrain, giving independence that most recipients have never experienced.
With your support, we will fill this container and continue giving the gift of mobility to those in need.
*The gross national income per capita in Haiti is US$660. Source: World Bank 2010