Bien viaje, Jose!

Ricky, Jose, and Laura

Bright and early this morning, little Jose boarded an American Airline flight to return to his home in Honduras. He was accompanied by Airline Ambassador, Ina Melen who volunteers her time escorting children traveling alone.

Jose had been hospitalized at Shriners Hospital in Boston after suffering burns from a container of hot molasses. Once again, Shriners transformed this little boy’s life in a matter of weeks. The first time we visited Jose, he was behind plastic on the acute care unit. Yesterday, we joined his going away celebration and delighted in watching Jose, full of giggles, running around the physical therapy room.

Recently, Jose has been living with the Sierra family in Boston. When children are ready for outpatient visits to the clinic and don’t have a place to stay locally, the Sierra family has offered their home. Second to receiving state-of-the-art medical care, the experience of living with a loving family is invaluable. Children have the opportunity to develop physically when they are not in the confines of a hospital setting. They also benefit emotionally by being embraced by people who care. Host families have the opportunity to share a bit of their cultures, as well as, offering new experiences that Honduran children never would have had. Often times, host families continue to be an integral part of the children’s lives, and keep the relationships strong by phone calls and visits. Certainly, the patient isn’t the only one who benefits, host families often comment that it is one of the most meaningful experiences in their lives.

Not everyone has the availability to be a host family but you can still be actively involved by visiting children who are hospitalized locally. Esperanza has an ongoing need of large size suitcases, duffle bags and small carry-on suitcases for the children traveling home. Other appreciated items include: new underwear, gently worn clothing, small toys, Spanish books and MP3 players.

Everyone has the chance to bring a smile to a child…and I guarantee it will do the same for you!

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