Not every day is rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes we lose. Sometimes the universe reminds us that despite how hard we work we always need to do more. Today my friend Julian (Co-founder of Bronze Medical and Sam's Wife) said goodbye to a friend; a father said goodbye to his daughter and grandchild, a husband said goodbye to his wife and child, and his children said goodbye to their mother and brother.
Doreen was in labor with her fifth child and too far away to deliver at Bronze Medical leaving her next closest and best option to be transported on the back of a motorcycle to the government hospital. On the way to the hospital, nature took course and Doreen's husband pulled over to try to assist his wife with childbirth. He was not trained in medicine and there, on the side of the road, he watched as his wife delivered a stillborn baby boy and then bleed to death.
I cried for this friend, daughter, wife, and mother. I have never met her but a piece of her is forever ingrained in my heart because I am a daughter, wife, and mother. Because I am a woman. Because I am a human. I allow myself to feel the pain because it is equally as important to sit silently in the sadness of loss as it is to celebrate with pride in victory. It is in quiet reflection of our loss that we can regroup, recover, and re-strategize.
I cannot say that having a trained medical attendant there would have made this tragedy have a different outcome. What I can say is that having a trained person there would have let Doreen’s husband know that everything that could have been done to save her and their son was done. I cannot say that having an ambulance there would have saved Doreen, but I can say having an ambulance would have made her final moments more comfortable.
Marriage and children bring us hope. Hope of a new beginning, of a new life, another chance, a different way, a better tomorrow. When we are robbed of this hope we are left empty. Right now I feel hopeless, but I have to remember why I named this charity Project Hope. A project is something you work on over a period of time. It is not a simple, quick fix. A project involves many different elements, skill set, and talents. So we work on hope. We work on giving it, keeping it, letting it feed us and drive us beyond our sadness and back into optimism. Together we are what we cannot be alone. Together we have the courage to carry each other towards hope.
I am grateful for the people who have given their time, talent, & support to Project Hope. You have given me hope. You are what encourages me to take the leap and try to fly. Whether I hit the ground with grace or sore with humility, I have a clear focus and that is because of Project Hope’s supporters and because of Doreen.
I will continue on with my efforts with Doreen in my heart. Every time I celebrate a healthy birth, I will remember the one we lost. I will do this so I don’t forget to always try. When I have given everything I have, I will dig deep and find more because of Doreen. I will do this because of who we are and what we were meant to do. The end result may ultimately be the same, but we will not go down without a fight.
Today I received word that Project Hope and Bronze Medical have been invited to competed in the second round of a private grant completion called D-Prize. Sam and I (along with my husband Robert) have formulated a plan to distribute Misoprostol (a drug that is used to stop hemorrhaging after birth) and train birth attendants in remote villages in Uganda to the standard of the World Health Organization. If we are selected, this grant can be up to $20,000 and would save thousands of lives. I have decided to call this effort Operation Doreen; for the woman we lost, for the mother who left four orphans, for the one who pushes me further daily. I will take her name and remove it from the thought of sadness and make it synonymous with hope.
Wish us luck in our efforts, we have a deadline of November 22nd and a ton of work to do!