Several HemoHelper volunteers, including Joslyn Olsen, Holly Olsen, and Breauna Checketts, had the wonderful privilege of visiting the beautiful Dominican Republic on World Hemophilia Day (April 17, 2015) to deliver medical supplies and medical identification bracelets.
We were excited to bring medical IDs to Santo Domingo, the capitol city. Shortly after our arrival, we were greeted by Haydee Benoit (pictured below), the amazing woman in charge of the hemophilia organization there, and mother of a son with hemophilia. She invited us to come to a meeting where many hemophiliacs from around the island were gathered in celebration of World Hemophilia Day. There were between 50-75 people in attendance. They were a happy, friendly, tight-knit community. They accepted the donations with excitement and gratitude. They graciously listened to us speak about what we do at HemoHelper and why. Some of the even obliged us by letting us interview them for our HemoStories Podcast (which we will add at a later date). We were so honored to be a part of the celebration.
Many of the donated bracelets, which retail for $22 each, were generously donated by chicalertmedid.com, and engraved in Spanish in order to help and support hemophiliacs around the world.
Approximately 500+ people in the DR have hemophilia, but only about half of them are in the system and getting treatments. Unfortunately, the treatments to which they have access (factor) are in very short supply and are expensive. Many of the people with hemophilia are poor, and most of the bleeds they get must be handled at home with the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Many of the people we met had either active bleeds, or had swollen joints due to untreated bleeds.
Many of the group gathered for a photo.
Above: Participants lining up in groups according to factor deficiency.
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