Another story from Stan

Stan wrote this story in Dubai en route back from the ASCoN conference to Boston, his hometown.  Stan says “The quiet however does make a good place to think and gain perspective.”

Permission from the little boy’s guardian has been received.  Thank you Dr Stan for your stories, keep them coming.

Stan's boy

The 8-year old boy and his grandfather

This young boy, pictured here with his grandfather, is one of the memories of the past week. He is 8 years old but looks about 4 as a result of malnutrition and poverty. I saw him all week with a huge smile on his face looking for anyone to play with. I remember Fiona, a nurse, playing tag with him as we sat waiting on the bus all watching how excited he was. He was having a ball with the freedom he had just been given.

I am not sure of his whole story but I do know that he became paralyzed about a year ago as a result of spinal tumors. He stayed home in bed for about a year after surgery with no wheelchair and no friends to play with

When I arrived at the spinal center last Monday, he had just been given his first wheelchair that actually fit his small size. He was so excited that you would think he had just rolled into the gates of Disney World on Christmas morning. There was no stopping him. For him, mobility was such a precious gift. At least for those days, he felt on top of the world. Hopefully that will continue with the care he is now receiving. I am so proud that you people understand the importance of his long term emotional well being.

Yet, as I think of this young man, I also realize that if the spinal center had not opened about a decade ago, this guy probably wouldn’t be here today. He would never have had a chance to live his life: no relationships, no love. You gave him that chance. Without the proper care, not long ago these injuries were usually fatal, especially in developing countries with no services.

Thanks to all of you guys who work every day at SIRC with very difficult conditions. We all owe you a debt of gratitude for what you have done for this little guy and for so many others. The care you provide for your patients is very obvious and contagious to the rest of us. Never underestimate the influence that you have on your patients and on us, We learn from you every day.

This is the end of another trip for me but again I go home having gained much more than I contributed. Thank you SIRC staff.

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In the past two years, my work in Nepal has expanded to the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation and the Spinal Cord Injured Network Nepal. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in the north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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1 Response to Another story from Stan

  1. Pingback: Thank you Bowen! From the SIRC kids | Bowen to Bangladesh

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