To Afford a Brain ShuntMonday, January 30, 2006
By: Llewellyn Juby Country Director, ADRA Mongolia
It seemed impossible for the young, single, unemployed mother to find $850 for the brain shunt for her year-old son desperately needed. A schoolteacher, for example, earns less than $60 per month in Mongolia.
She had been to several organizations and businesses to appeal for help before coming to ADRA. How I would have loved to help her with the full amount, but with so many people coming to us in need of assistance, I have had to limit the assistance to $100 per person or less from a small fund from private donors established for this purpose.
We drew up a donation list for her, setting out the medical challenge the child faced. I made up a file with plastic liners to protect each page giving all the facts and information regarding her case. There was a letter from the sub-district governor, the doctor’s diagnosis, a picture of the boy, some downloads from the Internet explaining hydrocephalus and the precious list of donors. The first name on the list was ADRA with $100 and the ADRA stamp. This was hopefully a sign of authenticity, encouraging others to give.
Over a two week period she only collected $375 after visiting many organizations. She faithfully kept a list of everyone she visited and their reasons for not giving. We then shared her story with our staff. They were so wonderfully generous. In one afternoon we raised $266 from the ADRA Mongolia staff. Then the unexpected happened. She was given an opportunity to appear on a television show to share her challenge. A Korean gentleman was touched by her need and offered to purchase the shunt for her, allowing her to use the rest of the money to pay for the operation, the hospitalization, dressings, food, and post operative follow-ups with doctors. What seemed impossible was now reality. She had more than enough money.