I want to give you an update on Belo and finally share all the details… it’s quite a story!
Belo lives in a small mountain community called Tet-a-bef (~2 hour walk from H2H) and he has 2 older siblings that live at H2H. He had been feeling sick for over a month and was getting weaker so his mom brought him down the mountain to visit the local hospital. By the time he got to the hospital he had passed out. The Cuban doctors told the family it was a blood sugar issue and, besides giving him a one-time injection, there was nothing they could do for him. The injection brought him back to consciousness and the family tried another hospital in the next town. That hospital allowed the family to stay on the premises but the doctors weren’t able to treat him and he was getting weaker everyday. Several days after they arrived, the hospital workers went on strike – kicked all the patients out and closed the hospital doors… they hadn’t been paid in over 18 months! Belo’s family thought they were at the end of the road and brought Belo to H2H as he wasn’t strong enough to go up the mountain.
That day I was in a state of frustration because I had planned to go on a day trip to Jacmel with a visiting team and we had to change our plans at the last minute because we couldn’t get a flat tire changed on the truck. My frustration was quickly replaced by panic when I saw Belo. One of our H2H girls, Edna, (in her 2nd year of Nursing and a good friend of Belo’s sister) had just tested his blood sugar and it was over 30 mmol/l. My dad has diabetes so I was well aware of the severity of the situation.
I started making a mental list of local missions that may be able to help and then remembered that my phone fell in the toilet the week before so I was “unconnected”!! I skyped Renel in Canada so he could give me some phone #’s from our computer and while I was telling him the situation my sister-in-law, Marsha, joined the conversation… her daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was only 7 months old. I ended the skype call and got Belo into the car – calling a local nurse and telling her we’re on our way. Within minutes of arriving at the nurse’s home I got a call from a doctor in the States asking for more information on Belo!!
Marsha later told me that when our skype call ended she couldn’t stop thinking about the boy and what was going on thousands of miles away. She decided she had to do something, or at least try, as she knew Belo needed specialized care and insulin immediately or he would die. She thought it was a long-shot, but she went to her computer and googled ‘T1 diabetes doctor in Haiti’, and quickly scanned through the sites. She found a promising organization that was about a 5 hour drive away from H2H. She sent them a quick, cryptic email through their contact email, pleading for help. Within a few minutes they emailed back and said they were willing to help. After the initial contact with them and a few more emails and phone calls, she gave them my phone # in Haiti.
In less than two hours from initially seeing Belo, he was on his way to the Kay Mackenson clinic in Pierre Payen where they had a bed waiting for him and nurses ready to start giving him insulin! Later that night the doctor in charge told us that Belo likely would not have made it through the night. Here is Belo receiving his first dose of insulin.
Looking back at the events that got Belo to the Clinic it is easy to see how God had His hand on the situation. This version of the Belo story only shows a few sides… the clinic, Belo’s family and many others could add details of their own! It is a good reminder to trust God with the big picture and focus on doing your part.
Belo’s body started responding to the insulin immediately and here he is 1 week after arriving at the clinic. He was very happy to give his family a positive update.
The clinic has taught Belo to test his blood sugar levels and give himself insulin. He is also learning how food affects his condition and the best way to keep himself nourished. He has a long journey ahead of him but he is so fortunate to be surrounded by the amazing staff at Kay Makenson. They are committed to his long-term care… the founders of the clinic have a real passion for helping children with type 1 diabetes and you can read about it on their website: http://www.kaymackenson.org/.
Here is Belo again, 1 month after his first dose of insulin… getting stronger everyday!
Belo is now discharged from the clinic and is relearning life as he knows it now. While the clinic will continue supplying him with insulin on an ongoing basis, I would love to be able to help him and his family financially so that they can ensure Belo is eating as well as possible. The doctors at Kay Makenson explained that while insulin will be used to regulate his blood levels, his biggest challenge will be eating nutritious food at regular intervals… not an easy task in Haiti, especially if money is unavailable. If you are interested in helping Belo & his family please let me know.