$7,600 has been raised so far! Help us get to the $10,000 goal.
Medhanet, known to friends and family as "Mede," is a beautiful 14 year old girl living in the Southern City of Awassa, Ethiopia. She entered Elpis International and began receiving services when her grandmother contacted the local Kebele (city government) for assistance. Medhanet is a double orphan, loosing both parents tragically when she was young. Her grandmother, being impoverished, was not able to give her food, clothing, medical care, or an education. Elpis Ethiopia accepted her and has been providing for these needs for the last 10 years.
Last year our Elpis United States volunteers and staff were made aware by the complaint of Medhanet that she pulled her back carrying a container of water. We took her to the local clinic and they assessed her as having a pulled muscle. Throughout the next year her complaint grew and we sought a second opinion. Medhanet’s condition did not improve. Buzayhu, the Elpis Ethiopia Social Worker, and our Staffer, Nuhamin, took her to an Awassa hospital to be evaluated further. At this appointment they took an X-ray of Medhanet’s spine and were able to see the extreme curvature. She was referred to the Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa where the team of physicians determined that Medhanet would need invasive surgery that was not available in Ethiopia. Our President Michael Arega urgently left the United States to personally advocate for her care and at that time it was decided she be referred abroad.
Wolfson donates to mede
Recognized year after year as one of America's Best Children's Hospitals, Wolfson Children's Hospital is the only full-service tertiary hospital for children in the region, serving North Florida, South Georgia and beyond. Wolfson has agreed to donate the hospital care needed to provide Medhanet this life giving surgery. Through Baptist Health, the region's most comprehensive healthcare provider, and their association with Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, Dr. Neal an orthopedic surgeon will be providing the skillful hands to correct Medhanet's severe scoliosis. The cost of this surgery and recovery will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The generosity of Dr. Neal, Nemours, and Wolfson Children's Hospital, will enable Medhanet to live a normal life with a hope-filled future.
ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES GIVES MERCY FLIGHT
Ethiopian Airlines, the premier International and African airline will be assisting Mede and Emeru in traveling from Addis Ababa, ET to Washington DC, USA. This gracious gift reveals the compassion and heart of Ethiopian Airlines. Rich in aviation history with over 70 years of flying they have become the leader in African International travel. Ethiopian Airlines is in deed the New Spirit of Africa. This generous gift will enable Mede safe, comfortable non-stop travel so that she will be ready for the pre-op tests when she arrives in Jacksonville.
A Great Story deserves...
Jared, a local photographer and videographer, is helping to share Mede's story with the world. We are so thankful for the work Jared is doing as a skilled visual artist to capture every moment and tell stories that move the viewer to action. Jared was there with the Elpis team who greeted Mede at the airport. Check out his video below. If you are looking for someone to tell your story visit his site and give him a call.
Headlines and Network News
Jacksonville Times Union Reporter Ann Friedman
Mede underwent a successful five hour spinal fusion surgery on Monday, October 3rd to straighten her spine from the second thoracic to second lumbar vertebrae. Dr. Neal, her orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Felema, her Amharic-speaking anesthesiologist, both said the surgery was picture-perfect with everything going according to plan. The physical therapist had Mede sitting up and walking the day after surgery. She was in considerable pain for the first few days but was well cared for by her team of nurses and the Elpis volunteers. Despite the pain, our brave girl revealed her strength and tenacity as she faced rehabilitation with a smile and showed remarkable improvement each day. By day four, Mede was ready to go home but Hurricane Matthew decided to keep her in the hospital a couple extra days. She was discharged on Saturday, October 8th and was so excited to settle back into her own bed.
Since being home at the condo Mede has improved rapidly. Her pain is negligible and now, only two weeks after surgery, Mede is walking with ease, sitting for extended periods of time, climbing stairs, and even dancing. She has a follow up appointment with Dr. Neal at six weeks post-surgery to assess her progress and readiness to return home to Ethiopia.
We are so grateful for all of the visits, cards, words of encouragement, and prayers given by the extended Elpis family. We would especially like to thank Nancy Koob from Wolfson Children’s Hospital for so graciously orchestrating Mede’s medical care and for stopping by to check on her each day to ensure all of her needs were met.
Partner 4 Mede
Elpis International has set up the #medi4mede campaign to raise awareness and funds for Medhanet's stay in the USA and follow up care when she returns home to Ethiopia. The goal is $10,000. Every donation will go to her care while she is in the USA and then follow up care in Ethiopia. You can make a tax deductible donation to this campaign digitally or by sending your donation to Elpis International 7900 Lone Star Rd, Jacksonville FL 32211. All gifts given in excess of the established goal will be set aside for future medical procedures needed for Mede or the over 100 kids enrolled in the Elpis Feeding Centers of Awassa and Barhar Dar.