Cromer's 40acts of Kindness - a lesson in giving out not giving up
This year's Appeal is focused on raising money to provide an off-road rental car for Hospice Ethiopia so they can reach those in need of palliative care.
In Ethiopia there is estimated to be 150,000 new cancer cases each year. Less than 1% of these receive specialist oncological treatment which means the need for affordable palliative care in the country is huge.
The World Health Organisation has stated that for most patients with cancers and other terminal illnesses, palliative care is the only realistic affordable option.
Fetle is 24. She was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 months ago. Sadly the disease had already spread and could not be cured. When she first came to Hospice Ethiopia she was suffering with pain in her breast, spine, underarm and left leg. She had no pain killers. The breast cancer had spread through the skin, causing an open wound that was infected. She had become incontinent which, with other symptoms, suggested she had cancer in her spine and was at high risk of becoming paralysed.
Fetle was born several hundreds of miles outside Addis Ababa and been abandoned at birth. She had been brought up by a non-governmental organisation. At 18 she was raped by one of their workers and she subsequently had twins.
Fetle used to work as a cleaner but can’t anymore, due to the pain and other symptoms. As there is no welfare system in Ethiopia she had become entirely reliant on neighbours for food and support.
So what can Hospice Ethiopia do for Fetle?
Hospice Ethiopia is giving Fetle pain killers, antibiotics for her infected wound and steroids to try and prevent paralysis. They phone her and visit her each week, to review her symptoms and the effectiveness of the medicines.
They are also providing ongoing psychological, spiritual and financial support. £10 per month will be enough for her and her twins to eat properly. There will also be help for Fetle to make plans for her twins, for when she cannot care for them herself.
Hewyot was referred to Hospice Ethiopia by an Elder Leader. 70 years old, she had extreme pain in her right lower leg. Her distress was palpable, she was shaking uncontrollably, breathing rapidly, confined to her bed, her pulse was sky high, she was dehydrated and her mouth was sore.
She was also a diabetic and had been referred to the government hospital for control of the disease, but hadn’t gone as her son was busy at work. Nothing had been prescribed for her pain, and its cause was difficult to ascertain; it might have been a prolapsed disc.
Medics visited Hewyot and gave her two different types of pain killer (Tramadol and Amitriptyline) and an antifungal gel (miconazole) for her mouth. We encouraged her to drink lots of water and go to hospital for control of her diabetes.
Hospice Ethiopia returned two days later and found a completely different woman, smiling, relaxed and able to walk around her home. She had no pain and had been to hospital for management of her diabetes. She is receiving ongoing follow up from Hospice Ethiopia.
Hospice Ethiopia’s objectives are to provide a better quality of life for their patients, train health professionals, and raise awareness of palliative care needs and treatment. It is a crucial service for many people like Fetle and Hewyot in Ethiopia. Your support will ensure that Hospice Ethiopia can continue to provide the much needed care and help they want to give.