Carmen at her front door
Hi! This is Carmen. She lives in Cochabamba, Bolivia. A year and a half ago Carmen was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis and now has to have oxygen most of the day. Since being diagnosed Carmen has not been able to leave her house. She has an oxygen concentrator to produce oxygen that has to be plugged in and is not portable. The farthest she can go out of the house is 2m where she stands in the sun every morning to do her exercises. When the power goes out in Cochabamba she has to have a back up tank with access to a service for additional oxygen which she has to pay over $100 US a month for.
Electric oxygen concentrator
Emergency back up oxygen tank
I first met Carmen three years ago when I stayed at her sister’s house for two months while volunteering in Bolivia. She and her sister take in volunteers to earn extra cash. She welcomed me to her house and country and included me in everything. Every morning she would run out before I got up to buy the bread I liked for breakfast. She helped teach me Spanish and was a good friend when things got difficult. Three years ago she would run around town buying groceries and taking her great nephew to swim lessons everyday. When I visited in April of 2018 she was still her comical self and was enjoying looking after her great-niece during the day but was saddened that she could never leave her house. Standing in the sunshine every day was her happiest moment. She feels trapped.
Carmen needs a portable oxygen concentrator that has two battery packs. There is no medical coverage in Bolivia and she had to purchase her electric oxygen concentrator. She also has to pay for all medications and doctors’ visits and tests. The only thing covered by her work medical is the ambulance ride to doctor’s appointments. This portable oxygen concentrator costs $4600 Canadian dollars. All money raised by this would go to the purchase of it.
Carmen spent 16 years in Japan working 7 days a week to help provide for her mother and sister. She missed her mother’s funeral, nephew’s birth and great nieces and nephew’s births. It was a lonely and difficult time for her. Bolivians are very family orientated and spending time with family is their highest priority. Unfortunately Carmen couldn’t even spend Christmas with her nephews this year, as she couldn’t leave the house to visit them. Instead she spent it alone at home.
Please help Carmen achieve some freedom to spend with her family and free her from her prison. Any amount would be greatly appreciated. Small amounts such as $5,$10 or $20 all add up. Please share this with your family and friends. THANK YOU!!!!
- Shauna Norman
- Laura Pettigrew