My name is J, I live in Louisville, Co, and am a 1st and 2nd grade teacher. I've come to know a high school teacher in Helsinki, M, who after teaching all day, goes to a hospital to be a volunteer teacher for young, terminally ill kiddos. We've been emailing each other and she's told about about one of her little students, O, who is 6. He'd been in the hospital for 2 years and due to the fact that he's the youngest of nine kids from a very poor family who lives a long way away in Lapland, none of his family has ever been able to visit. M, as well as his caregivers at the hospital, really are his only family. After reading about Medals4Medals in one of my running magazines, I ordered one of your fabulous ribbons and attached it to a medal I'd recently received for running the Mt. Evans Ascent here in Colorado. It was 15 miles and ascended 4000 vertical feet, ending at 14,200 ft. It's the highest road race in North America. I was proud of finishing and receiving a medal for my effort....and it seemed the perfect thing to send to O! M said when she gave the medal and ribbon to O, it meant the world to him. He wore it day and night.
Sadly, O passed away last week... M was with him. She said he died smiling, holding her hand. In his other hand he held his medal. He was buried with it around his neck.
Hearing about the impact that one little medal had on one brave little boy really got me thinking about trying to extend what M and I had done for O, to her other student/patients.
M says that most of her hospital students do come from poor families and have absolutely nothing! She said they are ecstatic to receive something as simple as a plastic grocery bag or a t-shirt. When she went back to the hospital a few days ago, there was already another sick child in the bed O had been in. Unfortunately, as you well know, there are always more kiddos coming.
So, I'd like to get more information from you and see if it's feasible for M and me to try extending Medals4Mettle into yet another country.
I'll wait to hear back from you. Thanks for taking the time to listen.