My name is Lauren and I am an advocate for those with Down syndrome.
This past summer I went to Uganda and visited one of my best friend’s Clare Byrne who is an amazing person and the founder of a non profit called Imprint Hope, which serves, educates and provides resources for children with disabilities and their families in Uganda. I also had the opportunity to visit the Ugandan Down Syndrome Association. I met many children and their families. I learned the harsh reality that children with Down syndrome in Uganda are not seen for who they are, they are seen as a burden to society. What saddened me and struck me the most was that these children were dying because they are not getting the most basic and necessary medical care.
According to the National Down syndrome society, “Approximately half of all infants born with Down syndrome have a heart defect, they typically are born with a hole in their heart. This can cause serious implications. Heart surgery is recommended to correct the defects and must be done before the age of 5 or 6 months in order to prevent lung damage." If the hole is not closed within the first few months of life, the blood from their heart pours in and fills their lungs. As the child gets older, this puts them at a higher risk of death. This is incredibly preventable.
In the United States children with Down syndrome are getting a heart scan and heart surgery within the first 6 month of their life. This surgery saves their lives and enables them to live a long and full life. But in Uganda, this is not the case. The children there don’t get the opportunity to get a heart scan, let alone surgery.
This is exactly what has happened to little Priscilla. She is a 2 year old girl with Down syndrome who is under the care of Imprint Hope. She has 3 holes in her heart, and has very high blood pressure. Due to lack of education, her parents didn’t know that she had Down syndrome and they were surprised to find out that she has a heart defect. They live in a mud hut on a remote island and are not able to afford to pay for the surgery.
While in Uganda, I taught classes to women and mothers about Down syndrome and educated the families about the heart defect and I shared with them what signs to look for in these children to ensure that they receive the proper medical care. A few weeks later, the Ugandan woman who translated the classes for me was on a remote island and found Priscilla. God has planted it so deeply on my heart to help, but I can’t do it alone. I need your help! Every child's life is valuable and worth living. Despite Priscilla’s circumstances of being born in a third world country into a society that doesn't accept her for who she is, I firmly believe that she deserves a chance at life and I will fight to see her get it.
Her heart surgery is scheduled for the end of January 2018 and costs $5,000 US dollars. All extra money raised will go towards providing surgery for another child in need.
There are so many opportunities for us to make a difference in the smallest of ways in our daily lives. This is a way for all of us to reach out and help those in need. We can't all change the world, but we can change one person’s world. This surgery could save Priscilla’s life and change her world. I ask that you please consider donating. Whatever you are able to give is greatly appreciated.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity!
Together we can change a life and heal a heart!
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