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!

Mourning The Loss

Our thoughts and prayers are constantly with Dyani and Fredrico Sierra and their family, as they mourn the unexpectant death of their 18 year old son, Alex. We have had the pleasure of meeting Dyani at Shriners Hospital, through our connection of visiting Honduran patients. Their family has been an incredible asset to the lives of so many children from Honduras and beyond.

Dyani and her daughter, Laura, just radiate love and kindness, and children are so very perceptive in receiving these gifts. They also happen to be bilingual, and this is extremely comforting to the children who are often away from their families, facing serious operations/treatment. Dyani has been able to share histories of the children which I would never have the chance to know because of my limited Spanish. She shares  information which is helpful to the staff because children feel comfortable in sharing it with her.

The Sierra family lives close to Shriners and are constant visitors. They are well connected within their church community and have had the foresight to pair particular members with certain patients, to make invaluable support for the children.

Currently, the family is hosting 6 year old Heydy and she truly has become “the shining light” in their family. This little girl is absolutely thriving in their home, and has the most captivating eyes and charming smile! Although she will be returning to Honduras on Wednesday, she will need further treatment and hopefully will have the opportunity to return to Shriners and the Sierra family in the near future.

It is my hope that the Sierras are surrounded by all the love and comfort they so freely give unconditionally to all. Peace be with you…