Post by Susan Poisson-Dollar, AAI Director of Development
Some months ago, it came to our attention that one of our sponsorship children, a 10 year old boy named Eyob, was in need of life-saving spinal surgery for his severe TB of the spine case. People with this form of TB have such deformed spines that their lungs and other internal organs can be literally crushed and without surgery they face a slow and agonizing death. Luckily for Eyob though, AAI staff had made the acquaintance of Dr. Rick Hodes, an American doctor in Addis who has come to specialize in these complicated cases. The surgery is not available in Addis but Dr. Rick, as he is fondly called, has arranged for many of his patients to travel to the U.S. or Ghana where they can be operated on. Dr. Rick agreed that Eyob did indeed need surgery to survive and AAI began a drive to raise the needed $10,000 to cover the expenses. The money was quickly raised from a number of very generous donors and Eyob was on his way.
If you would like to read more about Dr. Rick's work, we highly recommend the new book about his work in Ethiopia This is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes by Marilyn Berger. The book is also an adoption story as Dr. Rick has adopted a number of the orphans that he has treated and ranks as the only single man that has been permitted to adopt by the Ethiopian authorities. Dr. Rick has also been the subject of a recent documentary film entitled Making the Crooked Straight that was shown this spring on HBO.
Here are some recent photos we received from the AAI social workers about Eyob. Eyob traveled to Ghana as part of a group of children receiving treatment there. He was a very sick little boy just a few months ago and now he is a healthy, active child looking forward to a good future with the help of Dr. Rick and his AAI sponsor. To learn more about AAI's sponsorship program, please contact Brooke Cole, AAI sponsorship coordinator. We are always in need of more sponsors to help orphaned and vulnerable children stay with loving caregivers and continue their educations.