Camila is 4 years old and suffers from cerebral palsy which she contracted aged 1 year and 2 months as a result of an intraparenchymal hemorrhage. Her illness means that Camila is unable to move or communicate with anyone around her.
Tatiana is Camila’s mother and primary carer. She gave up school and then work for Camila and, until recently has been working at a local market selling honey and coffee in order to pay for the medication Camila needs. Camila is in constant need of attention and therapy and it falls on Tatiana to make sure she gets all the treatment necessary to deal with her illness.
MEDLIFE have been working with Camila and her family for over a year and since then have been able to contribute to the medication Camila needs. However, one of the biggest issues Tatiana faces is having to balance earning money to afford Camila’s treatment with being around to care for Camilla. Tatiana told MEDLIFE that one of the most useful things would be for her to be able to work close enough to home that she could bring money in whilst also being able to take care of Camila.
One of the pillars of the MEDLIFE ideology is sustainable development and support, therefore, MEDLIFE made it our mission to make this hope of Tatiana’s a reality. We fundraised to buy a sandwich cart for Tatiana that would allow her to make and sell sandwiches directly outside her house. After raising the $1000 required thanks to the support of the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras and individual donors, last week we were able to deliver the sandwich cart to its new owner.
Tatiana told us what a difference this would make to hers and Camila’s lives. She told us how “[Camila] needs help almost every hour of the day. I can’t leave to work or go out with anyone. This cart will help me get back my independence and will enable me to earn the money I need to deal with Camila’s condition”.
This year’s summer volunteer affairs interns were lucky enough to be Tatiana’s first customers and enjoyed chicken and beef burgers and vegetarian sandwiches from Tatiana’s cart on Friday afternoon. Volunteer affairs intern Alexa Friedman said “being one of Tatiana’s customers really showed me how the work MEDLIFE does is personal and sustainable. It made me proud to be interning for this kind of non-profit.” This opinion seemed to be shared by many of the interns who seemed happy to be able to partake in what will hopefully be a life changing moment with Tatiana, Camila and the rest of their family. Tatiana Gerena, another intern told us how “being able to support Tatiana from start to finish was so great. Her sandwiches were delicious and I have to admit that I went back for seconds!”