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October 30, 2009

A Life or Death Sentence for Sabrina the Dog.




October 25, 2009:  Iquitos, Peru

by Molly Mednikow

I have been blogging about our visit to the Amazon Animal Orphanage.  Nobody could actually describe things more clearly than the Vet Adventurer himself, Luke Gamble.  So be sure to read his thoughts on the day on his blog

We continue to delay our river voyage as emergency cases turn up.  We visited a very poor family with a 10 year old dog, Sabrina. She had such massive tumors hanging from her mammary glands that even walking had become difficult and painful for her. The family live as many families do in Iquitos.  They have a pre-teen and two children under 5 in a two room hut with a combo tin and dried grass roof. Other features included a queen sized mattress on a bed frame, a hammock across the middle of the room, a fridge, gas stove, a assortment of roosters, hens, chickens, and baby chicks. They had a TV and a booming stereo system. They had a rustic outdoor shower outside the kitchen, a large backyard filled with an array of trash or treasure, and a second "bathroom" at the back of the yard.


The front room had a concrete floor and was basically empty. They kept their door locked and windows open and children and some adults come to knock on the windowsill to request medicines, candy, cold drinks, etc. The tiny store had a bit of everything! The man in the family, named, seriously, "Hitler," is a "Nurse Technician," which, honestly, could mean anything.  But apparently this was the neighborhood "pharmacy."  No prescriptions needed.

Luke and Veterinarian Annie Cook performed a 3 hour operation to remove the massive breast cancer tumors from Sabrina.  They estimated she had born ten litters of puppies.  Luke has described so much about her condition on his blog today.  Check out his entry entitled "Sabrina."  He is too humble to mention the conditions that he faced while operating on her.  Removing cancerous mammary glands can be quite tricky as several central veins run through this area.  Had Luke cut one, things would have turned very bad, very quickly.  I watched a large part of the surgery and learned a great deal, and Luke has amazing techniques to prevent such disasters.

The surgery was performed in sweltering heat and humidity.  During the last half hour, however, it began to rain.  Hard.  Luke finished the surgery crouching under tree branches and under a thin shower curtain two men held over the surgery table.  I had come along as a translator, and spent most of the time off camera.  During the downpour I huddled in the house with the kids, puppies, assorted chicks, roosters and a hen trying to lay eggs on the bed. 

We brought Sabrina back to the CARES clinic for recovery.  I slept next to her on the floor for an hour at one point during the night.  Annie and Luke came to check on her and "relieved me," although it wasn´t a burden to watch over and keep this loving animal warm.  I returned to a bed upstairs and at some point I heard the door close downstairs.  This is when Luke left at 4:45 AM.  He apparently spent some quality time on the floor comforting Sabrina as well.  I went down and added to the small pillow he´d placed on the floor and showed her affection until I fell asleep.  I am unsure at what hour the Vets came in again, but they are so thorough in their careful monitoring that I´m sure I wasn´t asleep on the floor for long.

With the Amazon CARES team already in CaballoCocha on their trip with Worldwide Veterinary Service volunteers, Luke decided it would be best to monitor Sabrina 24 hours a day by bringing her on the boat.  We are finally off on our river voyage on "La Neñita" for four days.

Support for the CaballoCocha spay/neuter project is being provided by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.  Their grant has paid for all needed medicines.  The Worldwide Veterinary Service generously provided eight veterinary volunteers as well as in-kind donations.

To learn more this exciting documentary which will feature Amazon CARES, visit Red Earth Studios.


*Check back for updates on Sabrina.

Nurses "Dream" is to Hold Huge Rodent!?!

Well, maybe not a rodent, more like a giant guinea pig!

October 20, 2009
by Veterinarian Naimi Collins


Hi there,

I’m Naima, a vet nurse from England. I work in small animal practice at home but have always had a keen interest in animal welfare around the world. When the opportunity arose with the WVS to help the street dogs in Peru I jumped at the chance. The beauty of this project is that you really can see the difference Amazon Cares makes.

The work is challenging and exciting at the same time! Living in the jungle and getting a boat along the Amazon River every day to get to work is anything but mundane. Yesterday above the meat market we had queues of people with their animals for treatments of all kinds. It’s interesting trying to communicate what’s needed in a different language, causing quite a few laughs at the same time.

On my second day I managed to get bitten by a capuchin monkey in the jungle wildlife rescue reserve! I also managed to hold the largest rodent/rat in the world which was so exciting for me as I have rescue ratties of my own at home.

The team I am with is a great bunch of people and the whole experience is so rewarding. The work of the local vets is amazing; the place is friendly, buzzy and full of culture. I am very proud to be working for the WVS and Amazon cares.


 Naima prepares for a free mobile veterinary clinic with supplies donated by the Worldwide Veterinary Service and the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.


Our volunteer activities are so important. You can help support our cause by purchasing a beautiful 2010 desk calendar and each donation of $30 or more will receive a complimentary calendar as well.





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October 25, 2009

A Monkey, A Macaw and Two Successful Jungle Surgeries




As I discussed in yesterday´s blog, the extreme documentary film crew featuring Worldwide Vet Luke Gamble visited the Amazon Animal Orphanage.  The Animal Orphange is an Official Temporary Custody Center for illegally traded and captured wildlife.  I stayed out of sight while the crew worked, grateful for the opportunity to think and revel in amazement at the surroundings. The howler monkeys were making quite a racket, and not at all what I expected.  Their howls were low and loud growls that seemed to come from a much larger animal.

Though I take many CARES volunteers to the Butterfly Farm and Animal Orphanage, there is always some tidbit I come away with that I did not know before. Today, some of what I learned was very sad.  Many people capture monkeys to trade or to keep as pets.  When doing so, they commit a very inhumane act against these poor monkeys.  They cut their front molars so that the monkeys won´t bite them.  They do it with no regard for the pain of the monkey.  Imagaine the pain of having two teeth broken in half, with all the nerves exposed.

A poor monkey at the animal orphanage has suffered from chronic dental pain for years.  Her gums and teeth are constantly infected, as the infection has no place to drain off due to half her tooth being left inside each socket.  To the amazement of many, Luke performed very delicate dental surgery and cleanly extracted the two tooth remnants from the monkey!

The day also featured the removal of a tumor from a beautiful, brightly colored Macaw.

Now we are off on our river voyage on "La Neñita" for four days.  Thank you Dr. Devon Graham of http://www.projectamazonas.org/ for always being generous and providing services to Amazon CARES at cost.

To learn more this exciting documentary which will feature Amazon CARES, visit Red Earth Studios.

October 24, 2009

Beware of good intentions...and wear insect repellent always!




I joined the extreme crew this morning to translate and make sure they made it to the Amazon Animal Orphanage.  It required a motocar ride to the Port of Bella Vista Nanay and then a 10 minute boat trip to the town of Padre Coche which is on the Rio Napo.  Usually one has to walk a small distance in sweltering heat to reach the facility founded by Austrian ex-pat Gudren Sperrer, but we were fortunate to have motocars at the Padre Cocha port!  Two kids attached themselves to the back of each motocar, and I figured they were along for the ride.  We had some tight corners, sharp turns and fast downhill runs.  Then I discovered the kids were NOT there to enjoy the local roller coaster!  Going uphill they got behind the motocar to run and push it forward!  Mind you, these were young children!

While the crew did re-shoots of Luke being shaken around in the moto-taxi, I waited nearby where I noticed an emaciated dog nursing puppies.  I walked down the sidewalk where many people sell items from the windows of their homes.  I was seeking dogfood or something that might sustain the mother in nourishing her litter.  The best I could do were cans of milk and bread rolls.  It didn´t occur to me that the cans were actually condensed milk.  The puppys and their mum were very hungry.  I soaked the bread in milk and fed it to the puppies in small pieces.  During my walk to the make-shift market I noticed many ill and gravely ill dogs, and made a mental note to take a vet campaign to Padre Cocha.  One puppy was startingly thin, with no hair, and what appeared to be a worm hanging from his anus.  He did not want to eat or drink anything.

Luke was very kind when he arrived but became concerned that the animals would have upset stomachs from the rich milk.  He also pointed out that dogs don´t eat bread!  I know that, of course, but Peruvian dogs usually eat only what they can find or happens to be leftover from the family dinner table, which is not much.  Their diets lack nutrition and are heavy on rice, fried potatoes, bread, fish or even just fish bones!  In my heart I still felt I´d done a good thing, and I believe some food, albeit not the best option, was far better than no food.  It made me feel good that he stopped to look at some of the puppies, especially the very ill one.  He treated it for parasites, fleas and with an antibiotic.  I translated for the puppy´s owner about two doses Luke left behind.  This is tough because by now the crew is impatient and take on an attitude of  "she get´s it," yet I understand Peruvians very well.  If everything is not explicitly spelled out, they might not "get it."  I asked Luke how many doses a day and when she should start the dosing.  After all, I hadn´t heard him say anything about it, so how could I expect the woman to know. 

The day was very hot, and the crew, carrying heavy equipment and working in the sun really must have gotten dehydrated.  As I was not on camera, I sat in an outdoor hut with two monkeys, one of whom immediately stretched out on my lap for me to groom him and rub his belly!  After realizing I´d provided lunch for a cadre of insects, I moved into a screened in hut, and was grateful to find a pen and paper to write down this blog.  Many more exciting things happened today.  So tune in tomorrow!!

Extreme Joy, Extreme Days

October 24, 2009 by Molly Mednikow

I have been unable to express the joy I feel at being back in the Peruvian Amazon.  My chosen "home."  Though the heat and humidity are more daunting than I remember, there is a bounce in every step and a certain joy in my heart that I wish could be bottled up and sold to grumpy world leaders.

One morning after listening to me sing in the shower, in the style of Ethel Merman, Veterinarian Maria Faena said, "Molly, you´re not normal," with a big smile on our face.  That crew has now traveled to CaballoCocha a the Peru/Colombia border for a mass spay/neuter campaign.  However, we had some great days working together and discussing different aspects of mine and other "not normal" personalities.  We concluded, of course, that "not normal" people make the world go around!!


In any case, I did not quite run away and join the circus, but to borrow a favorite word of Luke Gamble, opening an animal shelter in the midst of the Amazon Rainforest could be considered "extreme."  In any case, the guys are here filming for their television program.  Luke, the charismatic director of WVS with the knowledge and strength of a lion; Nathan, the competent, observant, slightly quiet soundman (a job requirement, perhaps?); Mark, the producer who has a brooding, mysterious look (think Sawyer of ABC´s "Lost") which disguises a charmingly casual "go-with-the-flow" personality; and finally "Extreme Cameraman" Simon, who has a brooding, mysterious personality that disguises a brooding and mysterious personality.

They can't figure out my sense of humor and I can´t figure out theirs.  Annie balances us out perfectly.  I doubt she´s giving them direction but we worked out a few hand signals to clue me in on when to shut up or change the topic.  Of course, when I'm being extreme, I forget to look at the direction!  Annie is a Veteran WVS and Amazon CARES volunteer.  Seeing her again has been like reuniting with a dear friend and feeling as if barely any time has passed!  She understands me more than anyone else here.  Thank you Annie for your friendship.

I was sad to see the rest of the WVS team and my entire staff leave.  However, it is a landmark that we sealed a deal with a supportive local government willing to back us up with transportation, lodging, surgery accomodations and more.  We are ALL thrilled that the Brigitte Bardot Foundation provided the funding for all the medicines we are using on this particular trip to Caballo Cocha!

Yesterday we visited the Manatee Rescue Center.  What an amazing experience....  I got to feed a baby manatee! They are the largest aquatic mammal in the Amazon, yet the least known and understood by the locals that kill the adults for food and leave the baby´s defenseless.  Another day is beginning and I must go, but hope to continue writing soon.  Hoping I can be the right kind of "extreme" for these proper chaps!  In any case, I can always look to Annie for direction!

October 22, 2009

Smelly meat market is temporary surgery clinic!




October 20, 2009 by Vet Nurse Volunteer Debbie Baird
Photos by Maria Faena

Our day started with another delicious breakfast prepared by Marlena and then we headed off to Iquitos in our boat, arriving at the Amazon Cares clinic at 9.45.  We are starting our clinic at Belen meat market today so all supplies needed transporting there which was ably done by the Amazon CARES team, with a little help from us.

The meat market was something altogether different! Situated in very poor area amidst a heaving street market selling all types of food, fish, meat and more.  Inside the huge building the downstairs was a meat and fish market, the smell and mess was unbelievable, but we walked through it and upstairs to our ¨clinic´´ area, very spacious with long butchers tables along one wall. The only water available was what we took ourselves, but it served as a suitable venue. Funnily we shared the space with 5 pigs which had been confiscated by the authorities for illegal entry by their owners. They were inoffenive and stayed in their ´´patch´´ only poking their heads around the corner to try and join us when we were eating our lunch.

Already when we arrived there was a line of locals with their pets milling around freely, its nice that these animals are alays quite amenable mixing together...it wouldn´t be like that in the UK. Although there are vets and staff from the Iquitos clinic here who speak Spanish, they don´t speak very much English and in our team some can speak a little Spanish but the locals speak no English;, so communication is difficult making a slow start to the clinic as we were trying to sort clinical cases from surgical cases. As always it happened eventually, and those being treated for worms amd ectoparasites/mange were treated by Hazel at one end of the table while Esther, Maria and Annie were busy neutering at the other end.

The anaesthetic machine could maintain two animals at one time so the third vet did castrates under a triple combination anaesthetic. We were continually watched and photo'd and filmed throughout the day, but I noticed not many owners actually watched their pet being neutered!

There was a buzzy, happy atmosphere all day, the whole team is really relaxed and professional, making it so much easier for us to gel and work confidently together. Throughout the buzzards were scrambling about on the roof and peering through the gaps watching us...a good horror film could be made here! My motor taxi awaits.  More later!

Note from Molly Mednikow, Director:

Debbie is a calming influence with a wonderful sense of humor!  Her first encounter with Amazon wildlife occurred in her shower at Cabo Lopez.  She gamely captured it on film.  Photo by Debbie Baird.


October 19, 2009

Monkeys, Dogs and Pigs?


October 18, 2009 by Molly Mednikow

We have four volunteers here!  Maria Faena arrived from Italy and Naima Collins arrived from the UK.  Naima and Maria arrived Saturday and we had time to visit the clinic and mak introductions before heading to our jungle facility, Cabo Lopez, by boat.  On Sunday, a day that NOBODY works, I always feel lucky to have dedicated shelter employees that come in to help the animals.  The five of us ventured out to the Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm and Animal Orphange.  The Orphanage was named an Official Center of Custody for rescued animals in 2004, the same year that CARES came into being!

After a very long, hot walk in the sun, we arrived and were greeted by a resident!  We locked up our belongings as one Capuchin Monkey had been trained as a skilled pickpocket!

We learned many interesting facts about butterflys as well, including the common Peruvian myth that butterflys come from flowers.  Thus, many Peruvians kill large catepillars thinking they are ugly worms.  This is causing early extinction for some of the most beautiful species.


October 19, 2009 by Molly Mednikow

We have a very hardworking team here!  I now realize it would be impossible for me to keep the blog up-to-date daily!  Two Veterinarians took a cargo ship to Iquitos, and as I could easily predict, they are arriving 4-5 days late.  It throws us short of Veterinarians and leaves the Vet Nurses without enough to do.  Yet, we are still accomplishing a lot!  Today we brought in ill street dogs and 1 cat, and conducted 10 surgeries in a 3.5 hour period!  We returned to Cabo Lopez for a delicious dinner cooked by Marlena, who also lives on the property and is 8 months pregnant!  She is a wonderful chef and handles vegans, vegetarians, non-dairy eaters with ease.  After two rounds of Twenty Questions, which I do not seem to have a natural talent for playing, we retired.  Maria took this photo of Carolien underneath her mosquito netting,

Today is our first BIG mobile clinic campaign above the Belen Meat Market.   See what this entails by watching the professional short video featuring Actor Andrew Keegan at http://bit.ly/44kqet.   Late Monday afternoon, a representative from the Belen municipality arrived to tell Bruno, the coordinator, of some problems.  Despite having signed an agreement days ago, Belen was already renegging on certain items!  Our location had been designated already!  Officials were taking tougher stands on the illegal wildlife trade, which could not make us happier.  However, they had taken over our surgery space and filled it with...PIGS!  We're off and we'll see what happens!





October 17, 2009

Vet Nurse First Impressions of CARES & Iquitos

 October 17, 2009, Iquitos, Peru
by Vet Nurse Debbie Baird

Hi I´m Debbie Baird and I come from UK. this is my first trip with Amazon Cares but not my first volunteer experience. I am a vet nurse, in the UK I do locum work. I joined WVS a year ago and have done 3 trips to
Croatia on a cat neutering project in the elephante islands. I only got home a week ago from the last trip. When I joined the Worldwide Veterinary Service it was with a Peru trip in mind, but it never happened in 2008, but  I was ready at short notice to do this trip. I live with my 4 children on a small farm in Surrey where I run a horse livery yard.  My daughter competes in eventing on home produced horses, so that is all fairly time consuming but great fun. I have an assortment of pets including a diabetic cat (aged 17), 3 dogs (One is aged 17), 2 goats (aged 18), chickens and my daughter´s first pony, aged 25 (same as her!). My 3 sons don´t do horses and are all aged 20 and above so my adventures are now possible once I have the animals sorted! I did have a bit of a conscience about being away so long, but my philosophy in life these days is `life is for living so íf you want to do it, and it is possible, do it!  I arrived in Lima last night and travelled up to Iquitos this morning. 

Iquitos is a buzzy, bright and friendly place not like anywhere I´ve seen before. Molly was at the airport to meet me along with 2 volunteer nurses, Carolien from Holland and Hazel from UK. Molly is lovely and enthusiastic and inexhaustible and I´ve only known her a couple of hours! Street dogs are all around and it was amazing to see two dogs lying together, one really friendly dog in great condition having been neutered and treated for mange by Amazon Cares (as evidenced by an inner ear tattoo) and one which growled at us.   He suffered with terrible mange and an infected leg.  We will catch him in a few hours when the clinic reopens from the long lunch period. This is what makes this type of work so rewarding...Many dogs treated by CARES still live as street dogs, but in good health. I am looking forward to later today when we get on a boat and head down the Amazon to sleep somewhere in the jungle.....

October 17, 2009, Iquitos, Peru
by Vet Nurse Carolien Grim


Hi everyone, my name is Carolien and I am from Holland. At home I work at an exotic animal rescue called ´Stichting AAP´.  I am the teamleader of the quarantaine. We rescue, amongst other things, monkeys, squirrels, chimpansees, racoons, dingo´s, bats, kangaroos, coati´s and much more basically everything that is exotic for Europe. We get them back to health and try to socialize them with their own species. Once we are successfull we try and rehome them with wildlife parks and good zoos.

This year I joined the charity World Veterinary Services (WVS) and  that´s how I ended up in Iquitos - Peru. They were asking for a team of vets and nurses to come out here and help neuter lots of dogs in villages along the amazon river. Thats my idea of a holiday:-) Its my first trip with WVS and I am really excited about being here. I got  here yesterday and met Molly and could see the great work she and her team is doing out here.
The dogs that have been neutered look much healthier than the ones that have not been. Today we saw a dog that is covered in scabs, probably mange, it looked like he had an infection on one of his legs and overall he did not look very happy. In a few houre we will go back to catch him and treat him and castrate him of course...

I can´t tell much at the time cause I have only been here one day, except for that its very hot and humid and the amazon river looks amazing can´t wait to get on a boat...  Molly made sure to introduce tme to a few Amazon specialties (and warned me of some too!).  I tried¨Chicha Morada, a sweet grape colored drink made from black corn.  We also enjoyed frozen smoothies made of 100% Camu Camu fruit.  The drink is pink, and tastes like a light strawberry with a hint of lemon. 


October 17, 2009, Iquitos, Peru
by Vet Nurse Hazel Taylor

Hi, I am Hazel and I come from the UK. This is the first trip I have done with WVS. At the moment I am very tired as I flew straight through from London overnight and I am also hot and sticky, so am not sure why I decided to come on this trip. It seemed a good idea at the time, something to do with adventure, doing something worthwhile, and it would be good for me.

Although I have been a vet. nurse for many years, I have not been in conventional practice for about 8 years, and have been working at a wildlife hospital, so I hope I can remember what to do. Let´s hope its like riding a bicycle - once learned, never forgotten. Looking forward to taking trip up Amazon river.
 

Vet Teams Arriving in Iquitos!

I am trying to provide as many real-time updates as possible, so keep up with us at www.twitter.com/amazoncares or on our Twitter feed on the home page of www.amazoncares.org.   by Molly Mednikow, Executive Director, Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety


October 16, 2009, Iquitos, Peru:


Due to a flight delay I arrived today.  So did Veterinary Nurse Carolien Grim from Amsterdam, Holland.  It didn´t make sense from a transport and time standpoint to sleep at Cabo Lopez, the jungle facility, so I stayed above the vet clinic and we put Carolien in a nice hostal across the street.  When we arrived at the in-town CARES vet clinic in town there was a flurry of activity!   Following through on one of our goals, our Vets were hosting a Veterinarian from Lima, Peru who demonstrated new equipment and the attending  Veterinarians all got to observe wildlife veterinary work on an exotic bird with a tumor on his foot.


Caroline worked with our wonderful Vet Nurse, Behtjane, to prepare materials for our mobile spay/neuter clinic on Monday.  Many of the materials were great items brought by Carolien.  Like me, she had more animal supplies in her suitcase than personal items!

October 17, 2009, Iquitos, Peru: 

Welcome to two more Vet Nurses today!  They  graciously agreed to write about themselves, and I am going to post these in a new blog post!







October 15, 2009

Volunteers


Volunteer:
A person who renders aid, performs a service, or assumes an obligation with out compensation; Botany: A cultivated plant growing from self-sown or accidentally dropped seed.



Amazon CARES depends on the generosity of its volunteers and would like to take a moment to say THANK YOU!


* Dank u * Merci * Danke * Grazie * Obrigado * Gracias * Thank You *


You may remember Amazon CARES volunteer, Sarah Razmandi Taylor. We introduced you to her back in April. She has remained a vital part of the CARES team, and in honor of her one year anniversary with CARES, we'd like to thank Sarah for her great work, friendship, time, and genuine interest in the welfare of animals.



Our Director, Molly Mednikow, just received her Life-Time Volunteer Award from the Presidential Service Award program.
Recipients of this award have given 4,000 hours or more of volunteer service (over a lifetime). We thank you and the animals of Peru thank you as well. Congratulations!

Hear from some of our volunteers:

Savina Veselinova
"...THIS WORLD NEEDS MORE PEOPLE LIKE YOU! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK FRIENDS!"

Olivia White
"So glad to learn of this wonderful organization. I am sending the website link to two animal-loving friends who live in Mexico and to a few other friends who will be supportive. The world is ONE, under an ONLY GOOD Creator named LOVE! :-) Thanks, Manuela, for bringing AmazonCares to my attention."

Matthew Cloner
"...Thanks for everything you are doing for the animals!"


The botany definition of a volunteer, while amusing, is pertinent. Often people come into our lives by accident or coincidence and many of them are true blessings. Whether we met by chance or design, we love our volunteers, and are always excited to welcome new ones into the Amazon CARES family. You can join the family by signing up at www.amazoncares.org. For more information, contact brandi@amazoncares.org.
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October 6, 2009

Featured Charity: Hydrocephalus Association

Amazon CARES is in good company as one of the Top Ten Causes on Twitter!  Amazon CARES is thrilled to represent animal welfare on a global scale as Cause #4.  The Hydrocephalus Association is ranked as the #2 Top Ten Cause.  September has just come to an end, and it was also the end of the National Hydrocephalus Awareness Month.  However, good causes deserve awareness all year long, and Amazon CARES is thrilled to share information about causes that are not directly related to the activities of Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Support.

Thank you to Guest Blogger, Jennifer Bechard for the following article!


Searching For Answers

Often times, birthdays, anniversaries or holidays are the main attractions during a month, but September now has a far greater meaning. This past year September was officially named “National Hydrocephalus Awareness Month”. For the first time, people in our country are becoming aware of the neurological condition known as hydrocephalus. They are learning that over one million of their fellow Americans are suffering from the lifelong struggles hydrocephalus brings to ones life. Many are stunned by the fact that very little is known about this condition & the only effective treatments are surgical. Questions are being raised throughout the United States, “How can back to back surgeries be the only option? Why isn’t there more research funding?” The medical costs of treating hydrocephalus are over $1 billion per year, yet in 2008 the National Institute of Health only invested $2.23 million towards research

Striving For Change

Although hydrocephalus is not the health topic on CNN or Good Morning America and we may not have the attention of local media or politicians at our fundraising events; but we do have the Hydrocephalus Association (HA).  A movement for change is occurring throughout hydrocephalus communities. People affected by this debilitating and painful condition are coming together and striving for change. Individuals and loved ones are feeling a renewed sense of hope for a brighter future. Children and adults are realizing they are not alone in this battle; there are others out there who truly understand what it means to live day in and day out with hydrocephalus. There are non-profit organizations like the HA who are dedicated to helping families and individuals whose lives have been touched by hydrocephalus.

 
Catch The Wave

The Hydrocephalus Association is a non-profit organization whose “mission is to eliminate the challenges of hydrocephalus by stimulating innovative research and providing support, education & advocacy for individuals, families and professionals dealing with hydrocephalus.” One of the many ways the HA is increasing awareness and bringing families together is through their signature WALK events. Currently, 22 states host a walk event in their area and the HA is creating a spring WALK season. In 2008 an estimated $400,000 was raised and around 5,000 people attended the events. For 2009 and 10 WALKS thus far, we have already raised $180,000. The WALK program is expanding throughout the United States and the Hydrocephalus Association’s goal is to have at least one WALK in each state by the year 2010
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A Mother’s Love
There are a total of 24 Hydrocephalus WALK events throughout the United States. I am proud to say my mother and I CO-Chair the Detroit Hydrocephalus WALK-Wheel-Run and Family Fun Day. Detroit is working as a team to raise hydrocephalus awareness and funds for research. Most importantly, we are giving individuals a support system.  My mother formed the First Annual Detroit Hydrocephalus WALK as a way of reaching out to the local community to raise awareness and funding for crucial research. She was determined to do something proactive to help similar families like ours that deal with the everyday battles of this condition.

Standing Up To Hydrocephalus

The Detroit Hydrocephalus Walk started off as a small fundraising event with 100 attendees raising $7,000 and blossomed into an inspirational fun filled day impacting lives throughout our community. We had an astounding 343 participants at our 3rd Annual WALK on August 2nd, 2009 and we went from having only 6 children and adults with hydrocephalus in our 2008 WALK to 16 in 2009! To date we have brought in over $49,600.  On WALK day we have a cause & bigger purpose. We are all there to bring a message of hope, ban together as a community, and share in a fun day together that allows all of us to set aside the worries and struggles with hydrocephalus for one day.

Together We Can Make A Difference

Hydrocephalus has touched all of our lives. We are survivors. We are parents advocating for research to ensure a better quality of life for our children and the future children of the world. We are brothers and sisters honoring our loved ones by dedicating our time and efforts to make our walk for hydrocephalus a success. We are long lost friends and classmates expressing our support. We are teachers and coaches guiding the future leaders of America to stand up to hydrocephalus. We are cheerleaders raising our voices for awareness and funding for research.  We are a community lending a helping hand. We walk for hydrocephalus. Detroit Hydrocephalus is a family and every single step we take on WALK day brings us a little bit closer to a much-needed cure. Hope is in the distance and the sky is the limit. Catch the Wave with the HA!