In June 2013, we wrote a report called Beatrice's Story. We wanted to update you on that story.
At the end of November 2013, Beatrice became very ill. She had been sick for a while, but when she went to the hospital in September, the doctor said it was an enlarged heart and told her not to eat Liberian pepper or salt. In November, her whole body became swollen and when our Director of Programs, Michelle, was made aware of the situation, she took B to the hospital immediately.
B was in the hospital for 10 days. On Monday, December 2nd, she was diagnosed with an enlarged heart, ascariasis worms in her stomach and lungs, and severely infected ulcerations on her legs. B passed away on Tuesday, December 3rd. Here is part of her story from Michelle:
The process was not miraculous or beautiful- it was full of pain, frustration, confusion and struggle. It was a lot of waiting...waiting for a diagnosis, waiting for a nurse to come, waiting to know what her chances of surviving were.
But those are not the moments that stick out in my mind. What sticks out in my mind is that Beatrice fought. This 13-year-old girl looked death and pain in the eyes and she never flinched. She let it sit there, but didn’t allow it to make her desperate. She had every right to feel like a victim and give up, but she NEVER, not for one moment, acted that way.
My favorite moment with B is that we had this campaign at the time for Giving Tuesday- "I'm on the street so that she doesn't have to be." I used to sit with B during the day and work from her hospital room. One day I was showing her our staff's profile pictures on Facebook holding the sign. She was so intrigued by the different locations people chose and the concept behind the campaign. When I walked away with my laptop, she told me that she wanted to take a picture with the sign. I laughed and said that we were in the hospital not on the street.
And then she said something that I will never forget, she said something so wise. This 13-year-old girl said, "I'm also fighting Michelle. I'm fighting so that no other student, no other girl in Liberia has to be in this hospital, has to be in my condition." She's so young but she GETS IT. She gets the whole point of More Than Me. That our lives are so much bigger than ourselves. B was staring death in the face and yet still fighting for every other girl in our program and in Liberia. I thought it was too much for her to even just fight for herself, for most people I think that would have been too much. But B is remarkable, B is extraordinary, B is an inspiration to us all. She didn't want her pain, her suffering to go to waste. She got that the most powerful thing she could do in that moment was to fight for something bigger than herself.
Her death shook our community, but we refuse to let her strength and spirit pass along with her.
This February we opened the “Be Your Best Self” Library in honor of Beatrice with support from the British Ambassador. And two weeks ago, we dewormed 124 students. It wasn’t beautiful watching our students struggling to pass the worms, but with every worm-free stomach comes the possibility of a healthier, longer life. We felt Beatrice’s spirit smiling down on us seeing that we are doing everything in our power to continue her fight that no student will have to lie in that hospital bed.
To keep our programs growing deeper, we're asking you to make a recurring donation to More Than Me. Right now, Microsoft is matching new recurring donations for the first 3 months, up to $500 per donor! Please consider sustaining our programs and improving our girls' lives in this way. How? When you click the donate button, select "monthly" under Frequency.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We think of B often and strive to honor her life every day.
For a brighter future,
Emily & the MTM Team
The "Be Your Best Self" Library!