While I am not a fan of the Thanksgiving holiday, I do partake in the family hoopla, food (the cruelty-free kind, of course) and the fun. This post is to honor something I am truly thankful for: the Love is Life Foundation (LIL). The following has nothing to do with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, but since the holiday is about coming together to celebrate wonderful things we are thankful for, I am hoping you will give it a second of your time. The organization was founded by my good friend, Steve Rosenfield, with a mission to "improve human well-being and alleviate human suffering globally by initiating charitable projects that support fundamental human needs such as shelter, food, education, clothing, and health care." They are currently working with the women in the West African Country of Sierra Leone who suffer from obstretic fistula.
In Steve's words, "This is an enormous project that we will be putting our energy into for many years to come as we feel women, not only in our country but other countries, do not get the care and treatment they deserve."
The foundation is in desperate need of funding to launch this project, and it would be a wonderful if you could spare a little change to help get this underway. Of course, LIL is always welcoming donations, but with a deadline of December 15th to raise the needed money to implement a clinic in Sierra Leone, time is of the essence. I know money is tight, especially around the holidays, but even the smallest amount could be mean the a world of difference for a woman in Sierra Leone. All of us EDSers know what it is like to live in pain and to deal with the lack of proper health-care, and if you are able to lend some holiday help, it would be so appreciated by myself, Steve and the LIL team. Donations are accepted via the link below, and the goal is to get a $5 from 1,000 people. If you are unable to help with money, they are accepting donations of frequent flier miles and even travel supplies.
According to the West Africa Fistula Foundation (WAFF), "Vesico vaginal fistula, or VVF, is the most common among obstetric fistulas and is an abnormal communication between the bladder and the vaginal wall, which is approximately 98% caused by obstructed labour. An obstructed labour occurs when the baby's head is unable to pass through the birth canal and is jammed in its maternal pelvis. If this condition is not relieved on time by cesarean section, the anterior vaginal wall and the bladder become compressed between the fetal skull and maternal bony pelvis resulting in pressure necrosis. This gives rise to a defect known as a fistula, through which there is a continuous leaking of urine that cannot be explained, [nor] stopped. Other obstetric fistulas include RVF (recto vaginal fistula), where a hole is between the vagina and rectum, vesico uterine fistula, and ureteric fistula among others."
From LIL's website, "for this amazing project, LIL will be working with Dr. Darius Maggi, MD and the West Africa Fistula Foundation. The WAFF was founded by Dr. Maggi who is also the primary surgeon and benefactor of the clinic facility in Sierra Leone. They are a fabulous organization which has created a comprehensive care plan for all the women the clinic serves. We are honored to be collaborating with them and proud to say the West Africa Fistula Foundation has been well received by the people of Sierra Leone. In 2009, W.A.F.F. received an award as Best NGO in the southern province of Sierra Leone and received a civic award for Charity Organization of the year in Bo from the civic organization there."
If you would like to help, please donate here.
If you didn't want to donate, Meeko and his puppy dog eyes are trying to convince you...
Don't forget to leave a comment below so we can keep track! (Anonymous is fine!)
Thanks so much and happy holidays from Dani, Meeko, Steve and the gang at LIL!