Imagine that you are stuck in a foreign place where the health care is not enough for your child. Imagine that the doctors start talking about leukemia, and suddenly every day begins to count. Imagine having to do a medical evacuation, but instead of being sent home you get sent to another strange city where you don’t know anyone – just have a vague hope for an appointment with a specialist.
When the clock starts ticking and when it’s your child life that’s on the line – what do you do?
This happened last week and I witnessed the unfolding of the story from up close as Johan received an email from a friend in working for the UN who knows we are passionate about children and families. The friend asked if we could help find a doctor for the child of a friend of a friend. The child was in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and they needed urgent help with finding a pediatric oncologist in Dubai.
As soon as Johan got the email, he started to call hospitals and got hold of an oncologist nurse and our friend Cindee who works at the City Hospital started to call around and identify specialists and doctors that we could call on if necessary.
I was watching the phone calls, messages and emails and watched as resources and networks were activated and then I realized that those who were helping didn’t even know who this family and this boy were – yet they worked tirelessly and selflessly to help the family.
The family got their appointment with a pediatric oncologist the day after they arrived in Dubai. It was probably not Johan’s calls that got them in – and it’s not important if it was or wasn’t. What’s really important was the willingness of strangers to mobilize for the sake of a young boy and a mother’s call for help.
Ultimately – it all started with a Tweet by the mother (who happens to have more than six thousand followers). Some may say that this happened because she has so many followers, but I would like to believe that we are all connected somehow and it only takes one person to make a difference – a person who’s willing to help.
The story has a happy ending. The leukemia tests turned out to be negative and the high white blood count was caused by a virus. Johan cried when he found out.
And I just realized that we still don’t even know the boy’s name.
Below is the story from the mother’s side told through Twitter/blog.
- The New Child
- Accepting the Child (…continued)
- Amelia’s Trip
- What lies beneath? Are we really listening?
- Speak the Truth