Sharing burdens around the world

Just over two years ago I found myself facing every parent’s worst nightmare. My 15-month-old son suddenly began showing some very strange symptoms. He suddenly was not able to walk on one of his legs. After feeling it all over and realizing he did not seem to be in any type of pain I decided to try and entice him with toys that I knew he could not resist. It soon became apparent that he was not walking like normal. He had been very steady on his feet for months and all of a sudden he was listing to one side. I continued to watch him for quite awhile and it only seemed to get worse. After a quick and panicked call to my husband, I was on the phone with the pediatrician making an appointment for within the hour. The pediatrician agreed with me and suggested seeing a neurologist the next morning. After seeing a neurologist we were scheduled for an MRI. To make a long story short, my son had an epidural hematoma, which is essentially a blood blister that was putting pressure on the lower part of his spine causing him to not have correct function in his legs. If not treated it could have caused paralysis or loss of bowel function, among other things. When we were admitted to the hospital and told that our co-pay would be $1,500 I barely batted an eye as I handed over my debit card. You see it didn’t matter how much it would be, I would have paid ANYTHING for my son to receive the care and treatment he needed. We were blessed, we had great insurance so a four-day PICU stay with all sorts of tests was only $1,500 and that was less than one paycheck for us. But as a parent I would have paid so much more. Today my son is 3 and a half and I am happy to say that I can hardly keep up with him.

My heart is burdened tonight. You see, I learned about another little boy this week. His name is Geoffrey and he is 12 years old. He lives in Rwanda, in one of our child sponsorship communities. Geoffrey is an orphan living with his uncle and he is very sick. He has been diagnosed with complete kidney failure and has been hospitalized since last December. His uncle has sold nearly everything he owns to pay for what he thought was 10 percent of the bill for Geoffrey, because it was thought that the medical insurance through the government that FH pays for would cover 90 percent. I was made aware by our staff in Rwanda today that the government program that Geoffrey is insured through is no longer covering renal failure. Therefore, for Geoffrey to continue to be in the hospital where he is being kept alive is completely up to his uncle to pay. I cannot explain to you my sadness in hearing this.

We were made aware of Geoffrey’s situation by our Rwanda staff because they applied to our H.E.A.R.T fund. This small fund has been around for years as a fund to provide life-saving emergency medical treatment to children in FH communities. The list has included heart surgeries, eye surgeries, tumor removal and many more. The hard part tonight is that the H.E.A.R.T fund does not currently have enough to help Geoffrey stay in the hospital and continue to receive the care he needs all in hopes that he can soon receive a kidney transplant.

This fund has been for years a behind-the-scenes-not-really-promoted fund and yet God has always provided money in it for us to grant to children all over the world. I have no doubt that God can provide again. I have two requests for you as I read this. First, could you pray with me? Pray for Geoffrey, his uncle Augustine and the doctors and nurses that are caring for him and making decisions about his treatment. Geoffrey needs a miracle and I am so thankful that I know a God of miracles. Second, would you think about donating with me? I know that I would give any amount of money if my child was sick and needed care. In Geoffrey’s situation, even though his uncle has literally sold everything he owns, it is still not enough to get Geoffrey the care that he needs. No amount is too small. If you are not able to give anything, don’t worry, your prayers are the most important.

Thank you for reading this, for hearing my story and more importantly, Geoffrey’s story. And thank you in advance for your prayers. I am holding tight to the truth tonight that God answers prayers.


To donate to the H.E.A.R.T fund, visit our website here.

About Katie Mayward

Katie is a wife and mother of two young children. She enjoys serving alongside her husband in youth ministry as well as advocating for children around the world who cannot stand up from themselves. Their family enjoys evening walks and spending time as a family preferably outdoors.

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