My 25th birthday is coming up, and with almost a quarter century of experiences under my belt, I know I have a lot to be grateful for, but even more to strive for. This became especially clear to me after a recent visit to Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (HAS Haiti, www.hashaiti.org), an incredible hospital in central Haiti which I've had the honor of working with over the past 4 months. I'd like nothing more than to support HAS Haiti however I can, and I figured my birthday would be the perfect occasion!
In addition to that, January 12, 2015 (exactly 2 weeks before my birthday) will mark the 5 year anniversary of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated an already-challenged Haiti in 2010. There has definitely been progress since then, but there is still much work to be done. In a place where roads, clean water and electricity remain scarce, I find it to be nothing short of miraculous that a single organization can provide accessible healthcare for 350,000 people over a 610 square mile area. Of course, this is only possible with the hard work of over 500 staff (99% Haitian), and a 58-year history of innovation, care, and excellence.
I'm fundraising for the hospital's Integrated Community Services (ICS) department, which focuses on preventive measures for healthcare, such as vaccines, malnutrition screenings, health education, clean water, and more, through a network of community health centers and mobile clinics around the whole region. I was drawn to ICS because I have a personal interest in holistic and preventive approaches to healthcare; also, there's something that changes inside you when you meet the eyes of a malnourished infant and don't know if she'll still be alive the next day/week/month. When as little as $22 can cover vaccines and other preventative healthcare measures for a child for a year, every donation can give children like the ones I saw a much better chance at having a future.
Anything you can give will be much appreciated, both by me and by the people you'd be ultimately helping. I'm starting off with a goal of $5000, as well as inspiring at least 100 people to donate. Every dollar goes a long way, and whether you can donate a lot, a little, or not at all, I'll still be grateful for your support in whatever way you can offer. I'll be eternally grateful if you share this page on Facebook/Twitter/etc., tell people who might care, or anything else you can think of! For those of you that do donate, don't be shy about telling the world how awesome you are! Along with your tax receipt and thank you letters, you'll also have a personal IOU for one big hug from me (optional, non-transferable).
Thanks, and much love!
PS: check out my new blog at www.psyched4good.com for more detailed stories about my experiences in Haiti. After this fundraiser ends, I'll be regularly featuring different organizations that are doing great things in the world!