As we celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday, I reflected . . . It’s easy to love another when they return that love. I love you, you love me. That’s easy. However, it’s quite another thing to love another when the recipient of that love gesture is not known and can never reciprocate.
At our Executive Board meeting this week, KBNF VP Derek Agyapong–Poku shared how he broke down in tears at his office desk when he received word of dear Patrick’s passing. His staff worried what was wrong. His heart grieved deeply for the loss of that precious young man. Jocelyne shared how she felt helpless at times struggling to find desperately needed albumin and blood required to stabilize Patrick’s condition. The funds were available. The life saving ingredients were not. A flight to Kumasi could have produced three more bottles of albumin. But this was just a drop in the bucket to what was needed. Jocelyne began to comprehend the challenges that face African families when a member of their family needs hospital care in Africa. It’s daunting, friends.
In spite of all these immense challenges, Patrick could rest through the long nights knowing that when his loved ones were away in Sierra Leone and Canada, he wasn’t alone. Jocelyne was right there beside him, an extension of us all, doing everything in her power to reassure this dying man that he was cherished and loved.
As the Apostle Paul eloquently says: “If I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. . . Lovebears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Thank you for your unfailing commitment to those across an ocean that are the beneficiary of your loving gifts of money, expertise and time through our project work. Your gracious investments continue to extend unfailing incalculable love abroad.
Here is a quick update on the work that Danny Moe, Reverend, Motivational Speaker, Vice President of Korle-Bu Foundation, has been up to for KBNF.
Danny has been ministering to Ghanaians and Sierra Leoneans daily. One woman had a dream of writing books, and had been told she had “books inside of her” – but never realized her dream until she began to work through Dare to Dream: Dare to Do with Danny! It has literally transformed her life. Her first book has been published and another is in development for publication this year. Danny has been showing her that there are innovative ways to sell her books. By holding seminars and having the books for sale, she should have tremendous success.
For more information on KBNF’s Workshops with Danny Moe, please visit here.
TIME: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
LOCATION: VGH, ground floor (old laundry department)
We are working on getting our hospital linens and supplies – so graciously donated by western hospitals – packed up for transfer to a need hospital in Techiman, Ghana. We need to be ready to transfer them ASAP.
We need your help sorting and packing – grandmothers, children, anyone, all are welcome!
On Saturday, February 2, we are congregating in the VGH old laundry department (ground floor behind Centennial Pavilion) for our next major work party. We’re planning to have a potluck to keep us all energized as we work.
We’ll begin at 9 a.m. Please join us. You can come and go throughout the morning and afternoon as your day permits.
If you are lost, give Christina a call at 1.877.468.6380 and she’ll be happy to help you with directions.
We hope to see you there!
Patrick Ali, a 34-year-old Sierra Leonean engineer, came to our attention this past fall. Patrick had suffered a serious cervical spine injury when a tree collapsed on the car he was driving in Freetown, crushing his vertebrae. Simply no neurosurgery care is available in Sierra Leone or any neighbouring countries, and after discussion with KBNF, Patrick was transferred to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital within a couple of weeks. Neurosurgery to stabilize his neck was successful; however, with the significant time lapse, Patrick was challenged with quadriplegia. Through the remarkable efforts of Megan Boyles, Patrick’s loving Canadian fiancé, he attended physiotherapy daily. Strength was returning to his arms and sensation was also improving throughout his body. Unfortunately, pressure sores acquired during his convalescence seriously compromised his rehabilitation and Patrick returned to KBTH Surgical Block for reconstructive surgical intervention in mid-November. After a valiant struggle and much prayer, Patrick Ali quietly slipped away to be with his Lord on January 11th at 6:40 a.m.
Many thanks must go to Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe for her remarkable care for Patrick throughout much of his stay. Providing neuro-radiological expertise freely was wonderful. Also, when Patrick’s sister had to return to Sierra Leone, and Megan had to return to Canada, Jocelyne ensured that Patrick was not alone. Reports of her heading out to market to purchase games they could play together or picking up a foam mattress for him were only the tip of the iceberg. Jocelyne provided Megan precious support and ensured that all of Patrick’s hospital care, funeral and travel arrangements back to Sierra Leone were promptly taken care of.
Rev. Prof. Seth Ayettey, our KBNF senior counsellor, along with his daughter, Dr. Hannah Ayettey-Anie beautifully provided pastoral support for Patrick and Megan as well as the arrangements for all of Patrick’s care needs after passing away. Thank you. And for the administrators that provided hospital transportation and visited Patrick, as well as the nurses on Surgical 6 and for the Plastics and Reconstructive physicians, your concern and kindness was so very appreciated.
Appreciation also goes to KBNF Directors Samuel Ampen-Asare for his visits and to Dr. Alfred Lutterodt for his professional attention to Megan’s health needs. And finally, much appreciation is directed towards our KBNF family and friends here in North America, for your tender, loving care, as you gave financially to help with Patrick’s medical expenses and care. That support encouraged Patrick and Megan immeasurably. They were not alone.
In closing, Jocelyne shares: “Keep Patrick’s family and Megan in your prayers. Thank you to you all who have participated in Patrick’s physical and spiritual well being. I firmly believe that this sad experience will move KBNF in a direction that had not been anticipated at this stage, for the benefit of other West African patients like Patrick.”
I too pray that Patrick’s life will serve to inspire a lasting legacy for many years to come.
As 2012 comes to a close, KBNF saw the advent of our first neuro-specialist relocating to Ghana. Ghanaian Parliament approved the College of Health Sciences and Korle Bu Teaching Centre of Excellence Hospitals, a project initiated by KBNF. Reaching out upon an invitation, exploratory tours were conducted for the first time in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Korle-Bu Neuroscience multinational medical team had the privilege this year of leading and participating in four neuroscience and medical teaching conferences, both in Ghana and as an inaugural event in Liberia. Visiting the Brong Ahafo region in the interior of Ghana revealed a physician passionate in his pursuit of excellence in health care delivery. A partnership has begun in earnest. Two more container shipments headed overseas to Ghana and Nigeria. KBTH patients received pillows and Patrick is being given life saving care.
Many in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria were encouraged this year by Danny Moe’s inspiring “Stars shine the brightest when the night is the darkest” DVD presentation. I encourage everyone to take the time to listen to this message, a gift to you all. (Here is a link to it.)
In conclusion, King George VI quoted from a poignant poem sent to him in a Christmas card from one of his subjects in 1939, that is engraved on the gates of the Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle and was read at Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother’s state funeral, “I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year. Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!”
May 2013 be embarked upon with confidence – for us all, and as KBNF embraces opportunities given to us for fostering health and hope to the precious people of West Africa.
On behalf of the KBNF Board of Directors and family.