“I’ve never seen poverty on that massive a level before,” says Richard Calvette, Rockford Service Coordinator for the Epilepsy Foundation of North/Central Illinois (EFNCIL). “I didn’t see that much destruction when I went to Puerto Rico or Texas after the hurricanes.” Along with Ben Slack, Executive Director of EFNCIL, Richard recently traveled to Haiti to deliver much needed medication and encouragement to children and others with epilepsy.
Ben and Richard spent six days in and around Port-au-Prince. They visited an epilepsy clinic, a school, and three group homes, including Bless a Child orphanage, House of Grace orphanage, and Jehovah Rapha House, a special needs home with about 35 residents, half of whom have epilepsy.
Through the generosity of OWP Pharmaceuticals, the ROW Foundation was able to send Ben and Richard with an initial supply of Roweepra (levetiracetam tablets) to be delivered to the CLIDEP Epilepsy Clinic in Port-au-Prince.
“Every place we went we left food and toys,” Richard recalls. “As we talked with the folks who work in these places, everybody knew somebody who had seizures. That is why the medical part of our trip was so important. We were very pleased to be able to deliver a supply of Roweepra to Dr. Alix Elie at the CLIDEP clinic.”
CLIDEP (Clinique d’Epilepsie de Port-au-Prince, http://en.clidep-haiti.com), sees around 5,000 active epilepsy patients in their various clinics. This barely makes a ripple in the sea of suffering. As they say on their website:
“This is the first donation to CLIDEP and we plan for shipments to be ongoing,” says Lori Hairrell, Program Developer for ROW. “Dr. Elie will take some of this shipment to a CLIDEP clinic in Jacmel, where we have also been working with the Children’s Hope Medical/Dental Clinic.”
“Visiting Haiti just affirmed the need. The people were amazing and so very grateful.,” says Richard, who plans to make regular return trips. “I can’t thank ROW enough for allowing us to do this. It has been absolutely life-changing.”