As vice chair of Make Way Partners board of directors for over 10 years it has been quite a journey of loss and redemption, brokenness and healing, sadness and joy. I’m writing today to let you know of another twist in the adventure we are on together. On Wednesday night MWP President, Kimberly Smith Highland, was riding her beloved horse Rusty-the-True. When they crested a final hill together they came upon a rattle snake which startled both horse and rider. Though they both have come upon snakes together on the trail when riding in the past, this time Rusty was too scared. The combination of the forward momentum required to climb a hill and the sideways leap Rusty took, Kimberly could not stay on and fell. For a short-while Kimberly blacked out while Rusty watched over her, guarding her from the snake. When she came to, she was able to call her husband for help with the cell phone she always carries on rides. He picked her up, cared for Rusty, and took her promptly to the hospital ER. When there, doctors discovered that she had internal bleeding.
The doctors immediately admitted Kimberly to ICU and began testing to discover where the bleeding was coming from. On Thursday it was discovered she had a tear in her spleen but throughout the day she grew stronger and stronger. However, late Thursday night she took a turn for the worse and the doctors discovered her spleen had ruptured and had to come out immediately. They performed an emergency 1am surgery on her. Everything went successfully and she is recovering with family and friends by her side. She is not out of the woods yet and even today required two blood transfusions. She’ll be in the hospital recovering for some time and then will be on bed rest for many weeks to follow, but even as she got out of surgery she was already sharing blog ideas and answering texts. Even surgery cannot slow this woman’s passion down….
One thing Kimberly continues to mention when I speak with her is just how much of a reminder this experience is to her of James Akech, who died last month when he suffered from internal bleeding. No one knows what happened to James, what we do know is that some days before James died, he had in fact, choked on a fishbone. Those around him did the customary patting on the back, and he seemed to be fine. The next day he complained of his throat itching and went to our clinic at New Life Ministry. The staff there could not find anything wrong. Lual Atak had James driven to Aweil, the capitol of our region where there is a “hospital”. The staff there said he had developed an infection from the bone and they needed to “scrape it off”. They did some sort of surgery. The third day, all his friends who visited him said he looked much better and even “took porridge” for breakfast. Later that same day, he died.
Had there simply been adequate medical care for James, who also had internal bleeding, perhaps he would be with us today too. If Kimberly had experienced the same trauma to her body in Sudan, there would have been no hope for her survival, but because she happened to be in the USA, options are available and her life was saved. The injustice of locale.
I ask for your prayers for Kimberly as she recovers. She has everything she needs and is receiving excellent care.
I also ask for you to stand with us as we take steps to lessen the gap between having access and having no access. Help us continue to build our Faith, Hope, and Love Holistic Healing Medical Network so that more James’ can be saved within the borders of Sudan and South Sudan.
I thank you on behalf of Kimberly, the board of Directors, and the staff of MWP for your journeying with us. Please click here to donate to provide essential and life-saving care to our children, women, and the communities in Sudan and South Sudan.