The charity division of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) works to provide sustainable solutions to global poverty. In doing so, the Utah-based religious organization has invested a significant amount of time and money in global programs to alleviate conditions for communities facing food, water, and medical supply shortages. For one father, LDS donations represent the difference between a child’s health and cancer.
John Rey Alegro is a two-year old child in the Patag District, Catbalogan City, Samar. Until recently, John Rey suffered from a congenital anomaly in his eyes. The anomaly, or retinoblastoma, plagued the young child since birth. Because he and his family live in a rural community in the Philippines, the condition had gone untreated.
Just recently, John Rey received an operation on the tumor in his eyes that, if successful, will free the child from all future complications. Though his sight will not return, LDS Charities made it possible for the family to sigh a breath of relief in knowing that their child has a strong chance of leading a somewhat normal life, albeit in visual darkness. Had the operation been performed at birth, John Rey would likely still have his sight.
The heartwarming story of John Rey is only one example of the highly valued work being done by LDS Charities in places like Samar. Rural communities often lack sufficient facilities to perform these complicated surgeries, which leave patients to deal with debilitating conditions on their own. This specific surgery, part of the LDS mission to provide sustainable solutions to poverty, was also a hands-on lecture given to local surgeons by the LDS medical representative.
The idea behind the hands-on lecture program is to not only provide much-needed medical care to the poor, but also educate medical staff in poor and rural communities. At least theoretically, local doctors are now able to address complications of this particular kind. Eventually, the program will reach a point at which local medical staff are capable of operating on their own and meeting the basic needs of the community.
– Herman Watson