Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog
06.01 2011

It’s Personal

A few months ago at the start of my medical treatment, I contrasted the Fortunate Last Mile with the Not-So-Fortunate Last Mile. Now that I am nearing the end of what I jokingly refer to as my “Swedish spa treatments,” I would like to add a few additional thoughts. The second part of my treatment has involved chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The mapping_visualization3 picture shows me receiving radiation through a device called an Electra Linear Accelerator at the Swedish Cancer Institute Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle. The device costs approximately $6 million to install and I am fortunate it is available at my health center. With this level of medical resources available to me, my doctors expect a full recovery.

In contrast, Stacey Cunningham, VillageReach’s Project Manager for our Malawi Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Project Malawi Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Project recently sent pictures of a village clinic operated by VillageReach and the Malawi Ministry of Health. These mothers are seeking medical treatment for their young children to prevent them mapping_visualization3 from dying from afflictions common to their area: malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea. The village clinics are rudimentary but effective in treating medical challenges that are barely given a second thought in the United States. Unfortunately, medical resources are still very limited and far too many children die of easily preventable diseases.

When faced with a serious medical challenge, it’s mapping_visualization3 common to be overwhelmed with a rush of thoughts and emotions. In the midst of that swirl, the picture of this young boy caught my eye. With a simple twist of fate our birth places could have been reversed. I can’t say I have sorted out the bigger picture, but I do know there is a serious problem with lack of access to quality healthcare and it’s time to act. And for me, it’s personal.

Allen Wilcox

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Malawi healthcare worker