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Archive for the ‘Our Work’ Category

Your Friday Smile

Thank you!

One of the sweetest smiles on earth.

Happy Friday, everyone.

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Africa 2007 Esther

The children that we meet through Pediatric AIDS Canada are an amazing bunch.  Brave, welcoming, fun.  And sometimes, their stories can just break your heart.

Like little Esther.  She was  born HIV+.  Her mother died of AIDS when she was just a baby.  Her father couldn’t face the burden of raising an HIV+ child, so he threw her out with the garbage and left her to die.

Miraculously, someone heard her cries and opened their heart and home to her.  Through Pediatric AIDS Canada, she receives an antibiotic that protects HIV+ children against opportunistic infections and delays the need to start ARV therapy. 

When the time comes, she will receive ARVs through us as well.

I am so grateful to the woman who rescued this precious little girl and gave her a new life.

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2008 Annual Report

PAC-2008annual_report

In an effort to save trees and money, we’ve decided not to print our annual report this year.  But you can download the PDF from Pediatric AIDS Canada’s site.

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In the Pharmacy

I’m excited about the new cable bringing high-speed internet service to eastern Africa. 

Aside from the business opportunities this will provide, it will help us to keep in contact with our partners, which has been difficult up till now.  

You can read the story from BBC News.

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Stepping Up

Marietta

When I was in Kenya this past March, I visited with Marietta and her aunt and uncle. 

Marietta’s mother died of AIDS.  Marietta is HIV+.  Her aunt and uncle were able to see past the fear and misinformation that can surround this disease.  They took Marietta in and raised her as their own.  They are the only parents she has ever known. 

Thanks to the generosity of a Canadian donor, she’s given a daily dose of Septrin, which is keeping her healthy.

The future looks good for Marietta.  I’m so inspired by her aunt and uncle and so happy they are there to look after her!

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Sharon

Sharon

 

AIDS killed both of Sharon’s parents before they could hear her speak her first words or watch her take her first steps.

   

They are buried behind the small tailor shop where Sharon lives with her aunt; a constant reminder of loss, death, and sorrow.

   

Sharon grew up playing among their graves, and the graves of aunts, uncles and cousins whose lives were also cut short by this deadly disease.  Everyone, including Sharon, expected that her body would soon rest there, too.  

  

Because when Sharon was diagnosed with AIDS in 1998, the only thing that doctors could do for a child in Uganda with HIV was watch them die.  There were no pediatric medicines available, no treatments, and no hope.  Parents and guardians weren’t even encouraged to have their children tested for HIV – there was simply no point. 

 

In December 2003, the grave being prepared in the backyard was Sharon’s.  She was in the hospital again; a place where she had spent much of her childhood.  But this time was different.  Her CD4 count was below 5%.  Her hair had fallen out and she needed oxygen to help her breathe.  Aunt Florence, the only mother Sharon has ever known, was told this was the end.

 

Then a miracle happened.  What was expected to be the last day of Sharon’s life was the first day of a new pilot project between Mulago Hospital and Pediatric AIDS Canada to give ARVs to children with AIDS.  The doctors in charge of the pilot project chose the 5 sickest of the 700 HIV+ children at Mulago to participate.  All were literally at death’s door.  And Sharon was one of them.

 

Aunt Florence jumped at the only chance her niece had at life. 

 

Once she began ARV treatment, Sharon grew stronger with each passing day.  Within weeks, the little girl who was not expected to see another sunrise walked out of the hospital.  She has not been admitted since. 

 

Today, Sharon is healthy, in school, and well loved by her aunt and the community who care for her.  The grave in the backyard that was to be hers has long since been filled in and grown over.

 

Everyone in Sharon’s small community knows she has AIDS.  At first some of the villagers were afraid of her, but thanks largely to government sponsored education and awareness campaigns, they now know they have nothing to fear from this beautiful little girl. 

 

From the bottom of her heart, Aunt Florence gives thanks to all of the Canadians who have donated to Pediatric AIDS Canada.  She knows that without you, the girl she loves as her daughter would have been lost years ago. 

 

She can’t thank you enough for that gift of life.

 

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Salome

Salome
On our recent trip to Africa, we met Salome, a healthy, cuddly little girl.  She walked over and raised her arms in the universal symbol for “I want to be picked up.”

 

It wasn’t always this way.

 

When Salome was just a few months old, her mother died of AIDS.

 

For the next two years, she was neglected and starved of affection. The outlook was grim. Finally, she was brought to St. Therese House of Hope. She was 2 years old.  She weighed only 6 kg.  She couldn’t walk or even crawl.  And she had AIDS.

 

Since then, she’s started on ARVs.  She’s gained weight and she’s now walking.

 

She’ll snuggle for hours if you let her.  And we were happy to let her, knowing that she was making up for her early years of neglect and loneliness.  It felt so good to cuddle with her and see living proof of the good that antiretroviarals can do.

 

The older girls at St. Therese love the babies and spend hours every day carrying them around and cuddling them.  So much so, that they sometimes have to be told to put the little ones down so that they can learn to walk!

 

Thanks to a generous donor, the future looks bright for Salome.  She has a home, food and the daily medicine she needs to live.

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