In Honduras a little girl named Lupita captured our hearts the minute we met her. She’s HIV positive and was dealing with developmental delays. She wasn’t progressing the way she should, and we were surprised to learn she had never been assessed by a neurologist.
With the right diagnosis and therapies, young children like Lupita can often get entirely back on track. Without early help they suffer limitations for the rest of their lives. We spoke with the home’s director and offered to pay for a neurological assessment.
During the examination, the doctors learned she had been falling down a lot. So they ordered a scan and to everyone’s surprise, they discovered she had cerebral toxoplasmosis (a parasite causing a lesion in her brain).
Toxoplasmosis can cause significant problems, especially with development and motor skills. But of course, the diagnosis didn’t come with a magic wand. As her treatment progressed, she had a difficult time dealing with side effects of the medications being used. Her blood platelets had dropped, and the resulting anemia was causing seizures. She had two transfusions and they were forced to suspend her treatment. On a call with her doctors, we asked what else we do. What they really needed was access to experts in the US because it was impossible to find them in Honduras.
So we emailed USAID Director and World Orphan Fund friend Mark Green, and asked for his help. Within two days his team connected doctors at the National Institutes of Health with the doctors in Honduras. There was a simple solution to the anemia and seizures: folinic acid, easily obtainable over the counter in the US. But for some inexplicable reason it’s not available in Honduras (The pills are only 10 cents each). Once that issue was solved, Lupita could go back on medication to kill the parasite and get back on track.
Getting items to Honduras quickly isn’t as simple. We rely on volunteer couriers for small things and put the word out on Facebook looking for someone headed to Honduras. In less than an hour we had an answer. Maryanne Spangler, a Wisconsin missionary living in Northern Honduras messaged me. “My dad will be here in three days. If you can get the pills to him, he can carry them in.”
Hello Amazon! We had the pills sent to her dad. Maryanne put them on a bus to Tegucigalpa. Then one of the kids in our transition program picked them up and drove them to the orphanage.
In December of 2020 Lupita graduated from Montessori school! Her smiling full of
hope was priceless.