BENEFITING: The Fistula Foundation
EVENT DATE: Aug 02, 2014
Many of us can remember the pains of labor. Some of us had complications and incredible pain. In Sub-Saharan Africa, many women suffer through the process of delivery without a skilled doctor or midwife. Many suffer not for hours, but for days, and if their pregnancies become complicated or obstructed have no available treatment or care. This can lead to disabling injuries such as fistula.
If a woman develops a fistula, basically another hole in the body, she can lose control of regular bodily functions and leak fluid and waste. As a result, she is often isolated and ostracized from her community, adding a dimension of intense psychological suffering and shame to an already damaging condition.
Most fistula sufferers are young women, many still in their teens. They are likely to live with their condition upwards of 25 years--a condition that is preventable, treatable, and curable. It is estimated that 2 million women are living with fistula now in the developing world, with 100,000 new cases each year.
I can, in a small way, begin to empathize with these women. I think many women can. I have experienced female pain, loss of control, rejection. But there are limits. Where empathy can't reach, I'd like to make up the difference with action and invite others to do the same.
In July 2014, my husband and I will attempt the summit of Kilimanjaro to raise funds and awareness for The Fistula Foundation, which provides surgical treatment and effective care for women with obstetric fistula. $450 covers the cost for surgery and post-op care for one woman. I am hoping, realistically, that our efforts can transform the lives of half a dozen women.
Let's reflect on what it would mean to transform one woman's life: to help one person to heal and return to normalcy. And then, let's see how much we may be able to give, how far we can make this go... (Time for me to go train).