Canadians Offer Hope for the Holidays
This holiday season, Canadians are responding to the immediate needs of men, women and children facing leprosy – and changing lives!
We have a wonderful opportunity to help people facing the challenges of leprosy – and yes, it still exists! It can be hard, as people experience social and family rejection and even job loss, all while enduring the physical symptoms of leprosy. But there is hope, and we follow in the footsteps of a young mid-century American doctor and his wife: Dr. Paul Brand and Dr. Margaret Brand. Please read their inspiring story…
Dr. Brand, a young doctor working in India, was just starting his job in a hospital in Vellore. He was startled to learn that the men and women he passed at the hospital gates each day – many with damaged feet and fingers, with bandages, and with scars on their faces – had humbly accepted the fact that they could not cross the gates and enter the hospital. You see, no one knew how to help them. There was simply no help available. Their situation touched Dr. Paul Brand deeply. He had to do something.
When he saw the intensity of the illness and the state of the people, he committed his life then to ending leprosy. Long before the multi-drug therapy cure for leprosy was even developed in the 1980’s, he began working tirelessly to develop surgeries that would restore the use of hands and feet, and he advocated for the cause in North America, garnering the attention and support of many. Dr. Margaret Brand herself perfected eye surgeries to restore sight for people with leprosy. Their work over the latter half of the 20th century changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, and the work and legacy of both Dr. Paul and Dr. Margaret Brand still continues beyond their own lifespans. Families are restored. Dignity is rediscovered. It is an incredible legacy for one couple to leave. And we are honoured at effect:hope to help continue it, and to keep their work alive.
Every day, men, women and children are diagnosed with leprosy. But right now, Canadians can bring hope and healing by ensuring that people are diagnosed faster. effect:hope works around the world to provide treatment and support for thousands. Critical to stopping the spread of leprosy is an early diagnosis. It means a faster cure, and it ends transmission. Today, a gift of $99 can ensure that someone receives this early diagnosis. Canadians are already responding to this opportunity to give others hope and healing – people like Sonokumar.
Sonukumar is just 25 years old and lives in India. He came to us after several unsuccessful attempts elsewhere to address the undiagnosed leprosy in his right foot. By then the leprosy resulted in disability, making it impossible to walk on the affected foot. Following in the footsteps of Dr. Brand, our doctors were able to provide Sonukumar with the necessary surgery to correct the defect, as well as the multi-drug therapy cure. Now, he is able to walk well and can continue working!
This is just one example of the hope and healing that Canadians will give to men, women and children this holiday season.
Over half a century ago, Dr. Paul and Dr. Margaret Brand’s legacy of hope began when they decided they would use all they had to provide life-changing medical care for those who had been cast aside – the Untouchables. Today, we follow in their footsteps. Please consider joining us!
May your holidays be filled with hope, joy, and blessing!