Ngone Seck is an Italian immigrant with West African roots who recently began her engineering classes at Washington University in St Louis. Unfortunately, a massive amount of medical debt has caused her to get a full time job at Panda Express in St. Ann. There she often works 60 hours per week so she can pay off the debt. This has obviously taken a severe toll on her academics and she often has to miss classes in order to work. Moreover, Ngone does not qualify for government-funded dental care because she is an Italian citizen and not a US citizen.
Ngone is in pain every day. Please read an excerpt from St Louis Public Radio by Nancy Fowler for more details with regards to her medical complications. You can also find the complete article and interview via the link below:
"Just before Seck’s family left Italy for St. Louis when she was 12, a dentist found a single cavity. It was never filled. As her family began their new life in the United States, her parents had no money for dental care, she said. Seck doesn’t qualify for government-funded dental care because she’s an Italian citizen. Years of inattention — no checkups, no cleanings — took their toll. Through middle and high school, the pain increased until she could only eat soft foods. Last spring, Seck finally found a dentist herself and paid for the visit. “He said that ever since he started as a dentist, my teeth were in the worst condition he’s ever seen,” Seck said. “And I was losing bone mass because of infections caused by my cavities.” Almost every tooth was decayed."
At this time, Ngone needs two root canals, two implants and more than a dozen fillings which cost around $13,000. We want to help Ngone pay this off so she can focus on her engineering classes at Washington University. Ngone is not giving up and we want to empower her to success.
Who are we: We are the Italian Community of St Louis (Comunita' degli Italiani - St Louis), the only official non-profit organization in St Louis dedicated to assisting Italian citizens in the St Louis metropolitan area. Together with the St Louis - Bologna Sister Cities Organization and other Italian associations in St Louis, we have decided to help our fellow Italian, Ngone Seck. We have already heard plenty of unfortunate comments which we won't repeat here. While she might not look like the typical Italian or she might not have an Italian sounding name, she is 100% Italian, we are proud of her, we will NOT put up with any kind of discriminatory comments, and we are ready to stand with her in her time of need. We love you, Ngone! We're here for you and many people could learn from your courage!
This quote from Ngone, sums up her determination:
“I could have simply just said, ‘I can't do school; I have to pay for my medical expenses; I have to help my family. But I know this is only temporary. At the end of the day, all of our obstacles are temporary, no matter how big, no matter how small.”
On Monday, March 25th we will have a gathering (place TBD) where we will present Ngone with a donation from this fundraiser. A special thanks goes to the Italian professors and students at Washington University who are helping with this cause, especially:
Dr. Michele Boldrin
Dr. Vincenza Cifarelli
Dr. Elena Dalla Torre
Dr. Gaetano Antinolfi
Dr. Erika Conti
Dr. Nicola Aravecchia
Photo by CAROLINA HIDALGO | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO
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