Friends From Iowa Foundation provides many avenues for help and services through Friends From Iowa Foundation: housing or building materials, physical and occupational therapy, psychological care and services, a safe and structured learning environment for special needs kids and an educational reinforcement program. We also receive many solicitudes for many different things that people are in dire need of. And sometimes people just need someone to listen to their problems and help them seek a solution.
Recently we have had a large number of health related cases from people young and old that live in extreme poverty. It is one thing for many of these people to be burdened with everyday life struggles such as providing shelter or some form of food to try and calm their or their children's hunger while earning nothing to $5 a day. But those struggles are a mere distraction when a health problem enters the picture. I have expressed my opinion many times on the health care system in El Salvador so I will leave it at that, except to share what I have heard the poor of the poor say about the freedoms they have "if you are rich you have the freedom to live, if you are poor you have the freedom to die".
Denis, Gladys, Maria, Irma, Magdelena, Tomas, Rosa, David, Reina, Alexander, Jose, Isabel, Josue, Cleofa, Ana...these are just a few of the people that have come to FFIF in just the past two weeks and shared their stories with our staff. From severe infections and malnutrition to cancer many of these are life threatening problems. When they are welcomed and received at the foundation many of them are at the stage of desperation, thinking that a miracle is not in their future. When we sit with them, listen to them, look into their eyes it is almost impossible to say anything but yes that we will try and help.
Following is a brief bio and update from Andres on one of the patients, Maria Irma, who needs a lot of prayers and financial help to allow her to be one of these miracles.
Maria Irma is a 62 years old lady from Berlin who a few months ago was diagnosed with a tumor behind her eyes, when we first met her she and her granddaughter introduced themselves and asked us for help with her, at that point the tumor had started to push her right eye and she was in pain all the time.
Sometimes I wonder why there is very limited help in our public Health System, why people cannot get immediate and appropriate help, Maria Irma and her family did their best to find a good doctor who could do something for her, the public system recommended a biopsy to find out if it was a cancer tumor, but they did not have the right professional to do it, they gave the family a name of a specialist on Resection of ocular, eyelid and facial as well as ocular tumors, this specialist from San Salvador was recommended by other specialists as it seems he is the only who can do a biopsy of this kind.
The family took Irma to this specialist and the main problem he found is she is Diabetic and she has high blood pressure so that makes impossible the Biopsy process, he asked them to level her pressure and then take her to him, but her pressure did not get any better, a month passed and she was the same and her problem getting worse.
The recent picture of her warned everybody as we could see the tumor had grown a lot in the past days so they decided it was necessary to level her pressure immediately to go ahead with the biopsy.
There were two things difficult to accomplish, the treatment to level her pressure and the cost of the biopsy which was around $2,000, the doctor calls the procedure "the surgery" as he says it will take at least 2 hours to do it and it is a careful and difficult process. The family has asked Friends from Iowa to help them with $1,500, as they also agreed on collecting $500 for the cost of the Biopsy, knowing they also will pay the cost of the Hospitalization, the treatment from the Endocrinologist and the medication to stabilize her blood pressure, which will be very expensive as it is a private and specialized Clinic on Eyes and Otorhinolaryngology.
Basically it will be a process between the Endocrinologist and the Oculist, one is going to stabilize her blood pressure in the next 24 hours and the other will do the Biopsy immediately so they can speed up the process, in addition they have to check her for at least 2 more days to keep pressure normal so the Biopsy process can heal correctly.
They will wait for the results to find out what the Biopsy shows to prepare the next step on her, at this point they are hoping she can have a surgery to remove the tumor, they do not know yet how damaged her eyes are so far, or if the tumor is going to be so bad and spread that it might be too late for something to do, they are getting ready for a possible Chemotherapy treatment or whatever the medicine can do for her.
A couple weeks ago I personally sat with Maria Irma and listened to her explain her situation. When that happens it becomes personal.
The biopsy has been completed and now everyone is waiting for the results and what next steps need to be taken as far as treatment, chemo, surgery. The sad part is that the family has drained all the available resources they had access to when they raised the $500 to contribute to the $2000 biopsy (literally, friends and all her family members offered what ever they had. And because of other difficulties that had to be controlled before the biopsy could be performed the family still has an outstanding balance with the hospital let alone the cost of the recommended treatment and surgery following the results of the biopsy.
I truly believe that when people have exhausted all their options and are desperate and pray for a miracle that God is way ahead of them. The miracle is the power of God putting all of us in the path of those seeking. Many times we (as in you and I) are the miracle that God has provided.
Friends, if any of you would like to be part of Maria Irma or any other of the numerous people that have asked for help your generosity would be greatly appreciated and your rewards unlimited. DONATE HERE.
Let's Be The Miracle.