2017 CAMPAIGN: It’s a Wrap!
The 2017 campaign is complete, and we have said goodbye to two of our staff so far – Richard and Stacy – as they head back home to San Angelo.
Stacy is an outstanding ultra-sonographer, and with her assistance, I could give comfort and counsel to several women with numerous problems. We are so grateful for her willingness to be a part of this team and are hopeful she can return with us next year. Richard – our outgoing, welcoming EKG technician – spent the week making friends and ensuring that patients were comfortable. He speaks the universal language of love. He has made many trips to Brazil with us and is such a valuable member of the team – I look forward to many more CURA campaigns together.
During our final day, a Brazilian ophthalmologist, Dr. Rodrigo F. Espinoza joined us (featured in the image above). He was excited to learn of our work and hopes to be a huge part of our efforts going forward. He brought an Auto-refractor to help with our eye exams and is hoping that he will be able to provide CURA with one to use full time! But the most incredible blessing he bestowed upon us during this campaign was his willingness to take several patients in dire need of surgery into his office to treat them! One of those is a 5-year-old little boy that he diagnosed with glaucoma. The boy would go blind without Dr. Rodrigo’s help. It is truly an answer to so many prayers. In addition, he is researching the possibility for CURA to involve medical residents and expand our offerings to limited surgery during our week of service, and perhaps expand into a year-round eye care effort. Dr. Rodrigo’s wife is a Dermatologist, and we are hopeful that she might also be joining our team in the future. Dermatology is a specialty that we have struggled to find volunteer physicians to provide.
We had much to be thankful for as we wrapped up this final day, and those blessings helped to ease the inevitable stress that comes with closing a campaign. Unfortunately, every year we have to turn potential patients away as we pack up. It was especially difficult for me this year, as many of my patients had come back to further discuss their lab and ultrasound results. In addition, there were new people that needed to be seen. In the end, all went well, lots of hugs and kisses were exchanged per Brazilian custom, and another campaign was closed.
On Friday night, we had our annual celebration banquet – 130 people gathered in the church for a feast extraordinaire! Jason worked for 2 full days to prepare a glorious meal of gourmet meatloaf, cooked carrots, garlic mashed potatoes, baby zucchini squash, salad, and a delicious dessert of cheesecake with banana topping. Word amongst the attendees was that it was, without a doubt, the best banquet to date. And, he did it all under budget with enough left over to provide an additional feast for the folks at Crescimento Limpo! Volunteer awards were given out and videos of the week were shown. During the campaign, we are each only privy to certain areas, and the videos and photos allow us all to witness the event from a larger perspective. Carolyn Miller has been our tireless volunteer campaign photographer for two years (and we hope she will be for many years to come). She works tirelessly to document as many aspects of the campaign as humanly possible – thank you, Carolyn!
After the celebration, we began our preparation for what will be the 10th anniversary (!!) campaign of CURA Brazil, in 2018. It is almost impossible to believe that 10 years have passed. It seems as though, just yesterday, Antenor and I were standing amongst the naked walls of the current church as it was being built, and he first expressed his dream of assisting the people of Itu with health care. I’ll always remember Soraya and I, struggling to put together the first campaign with the assistance of Roberto. So many problems beset us, and to be where we are today is truly evidence of the hand of God.
Ten years later, we are still dreaming.
We pray that you will keep dreaming with us.
Each of you has been an integral part in what we have accomplished, and we hope to do so much more. We continue to dream of further expansion in overall services, but especially in dental and eye care. We want to be able to provide limited follow-up during the year for special cases.
I do not have the slightest idea what God has in store, but I know that none of it would be possible without the prayers and support of each and every one of you—Brasileiro and Americano.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart and from the many people of Brazil that you have so graciously assisted.