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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Back to Mitch


After reading my blog on Haiti, a colleague astutely commented that the blog about Haiti was so action-packed, that Mitch, the little boy with hemophilia, was all but forgotten in the storyline. I went back and read it and sure enough, the highlight of the day, the trip, was meeting Mitch, the only known person with hemophilia in Haiti. But overshadowing it was the gripping tale of accident and ambulance ride, the victims and death, the sad state of the public hospital emergency room.

It's an allegory for hemophilia in developing countries: the day to day struggle to survive overshadows rare concerns like hemophilia. People in Haiti, as in other countries, struggle to earn a living, to eat, find electricity, raise a family, access some sort of healthcare. Indeed, it's hard for governments to care about hemophilia when they have political upheaval, earthquakes and other natural disasters, declining economies, strikes, poverty, widespread infectious disease...I could go on and on.

That's why it's up to us to care for those like our children with hemophilia. So back to Mitch.

I was overjoyed to read in Randy Moore's blog that already he has been to see Mitch again with Dr. Eugene Maklin, on the horribly bumpy and nauseating drive to Jaquesyl (and I am a thrill seeker who loves white water, skydiving and racing). They presented Mitch with a new wheelchair (he cannot walk independently) and a cell phone! And since then Randy tells me the grandmother has called four times, asking for money for food. They had not eaten in three days.

I can believe this. Where they live is remote, and not much grows there. The landscape is hot as can be, scorched, and there are no stores.

We are seeking a sponsor for Mitch. So many people called and emailed after the earthquake to know if they could help--now is your chance. Would you like to sponsor Mitch? Make a one-time donation or "adopt" him with regular donations? We have a great team on the ground who can give you updates and get your funds to him. He has no parents and until now, no hemophilia treatment. We will supply the factor--can you help?

Contact us at once at 978-352-7657 if you are moved at all by his plight and can afford a mere $20 a month.

And please read Randy's blog to see how he works relentlessly to help provide medical care to the poor in Haiti. I was pretty wiped out after two and a half days, and he labors 14 hour days, seven days a week. www.ahealthierhaiti.com

Thank you for your compassion!

Great Book I Just Read
The Power of Empathy by Arthur P. Ciaramicoli and Katherie Ketcham

An appropriate book to review given Mitch's situation. Psychologist Arthur Ciaramicoli delves into the definition of empathy, and distinguishes it from the better known sympathy. Sympathy is a bit arm's length from the distress and emotions of another; it makes you feel pity, and might be what compels you to write a check for Mitch. Empathy requires immersion into the experience of another, and a separation of our own biases, judgments, feelings so that we can empty ourselves and be fully present to understand the feelings, suffering and concerns of another. Empathy requires hard work, active listening, patience and boundaries. Indeed, it's so complex that it isn't easily explained. Sympathy is more short-term and empathy is for the long haul. It's hard to be empathic, and many of us are not taught to be so. This book gives good insights into how you can learn to be more empathic, which can help bring more love and intimacy and fulfillment to your life. Three stars.

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