By David Langle, Project Manager, South America
In early December, a colleague and I had the opportunity to meet someone very special to Food For The Poor and its donors. Her name is Angela and one of our partners took us to the Roosevelt Institute in Bogota, Colombia, where she has been receiving lifesaving treatment over the past months.
Since we first learned of Angela last summer, she has been constantly in my head. The word ‘urgent’ was on replay. The most I could do as a Project Manager for FFTP was to present her case to my colleagues and pray that we could play some role in saving Angela’s life.
All the nerves and anxiety were lifted from my shoulders in September, when we were able to say that we can help Angela. A call to our in-country partners promised the assistance needed. The mission to save Angela was a “go.”
You can imagine the excitement we felt when we arrived at the Roosevelt Institute to meet her in person.
We arrived at her room, the doctor and staff walked in first and then I peeked around the corner down the hallway to Angela’s room where I saw her connected to her halo-gravitational casting. She saw me. Both of us, with giant smiles on our faces, greeted each other with “Do you know who I am?” and an “Hola David!” Angela’s mother was there, too.
With so many people in her room, I was worried about whether it was going to be too overwhelming for Angela and her mother, who is also Angela.
The FFTP Family had given me a card to take to Angela. In the card were messages from everyone who had been watching and praying for Angela, both in English in Spanish. I explained to Angela what the card was and read one of the messages in Spanish.
This tear-filled meeting followed months of work and prayer over the details of her case.
Angela’s medical photos distinctly showed a curved back, which was diagnosed as severe scoliosis, along with a missing arm. Her doctor clearly specified the urgent assistance that Angela needed to have any chance of a prolonged life. If she continued without medical attention, her life would be cut short because of her scoliosis impacting her heart and lungs.
But the other element that made this story so moving was the response from Angela’s parents. All they want for their daughter is to have an improved quality of life and the ability to be independent because at some point, they no longer will be there for her.
They were grateful when Angela and her family were called into the institute into October. Thinking it was a routine appointment, they were surprised to hear that FFTP and its donors would be able to assist Angela and provide the means for the urgent procedures.
Even though it was a virtual meeting, we could feel the emotions from Angela’s mother and father as they both held Angela tight, thanking God, thanking FFTP, and thanking the institute for this miracle. Angela was nothing but smiles. Despite her challenges, she acted like any other 10-year-old girl, full of energy.
Before ending the virtual meeting, I made a promise to the family that I would meet them someday.
This promise was fulfilled, much earlier than I anticipated. The week after Thanksgiving, our team flew to Colombia to visit several projects. One of our stops had to be to see Angela. I couldn’t come back without seeing her.
Angela is doing fantastic. Despite the halo-gravitational procedure she has been recovering from over the past several weeks, she walks and talks as if the casting isn’t there. She even surprised me and my colleague with gifts — chocolates and a letter.
Angela’s story isn’t finished, and when we left, we promised to return and share the rest of her story. And we will.
You can watch a video here for more detail on Angela’s case.