February 25, 2013
Hello Friends of Damien House,
Peace and Greetings from Guayaquil!
We have great news for you! I have just signed the papers with the Municipality of Guayaquil allowing the Hansen patients the privilege of calling Damien House their home forever. This is a dream come true for them because they will never have to worry about being asked to leave, nor having their haven closed. The Mayor will sign and seal the papers and in three weeks, we will have a celebration with a liturgy in our chapel rejoicing and remembering all of you in our prayers of thanksgiving for this miracle of 2013!!!!
With this acquirement, comes new responsibilities. By law, we must hire two registered nurses. We will also be offering the evening meal, which is presently being served by the Hospital of Infectious Diseases. To accommodate these changes, we will be hiring one more person in the kitchen, one extra maintenance person, and one person to be in charge of laundry. These positions are currently provided by the hospital next door and will be removed the day we receive the papers. Damien House will also now be responsible for paying all the electricity and the water bill, which were formerly shared expenses with the hospital next door.
As we face the challenges of this year, we look for your support, now more than ever. In 2012, one hundred and twenty two new cases of Hansen´s have been reported in Ecuador. This is the highest number since I have been in the country for the past 25 years. However, the reality is that there may be many more that go undiagnosed. No one is seeking out these people, they are just appearing in public clinics around the country. It is estimated, that for every person diagnosed, there are 3-5 that go undiagnosed.
One of these 122 people diagnosed last year, is now our newest resident. He is only twenty three years old and is a first year student at the University of Guayaquil studying the arts. In the three weeks that this young man has been with us, he has already become very vocal about this disease. He has taken photos and hopes to soon make a video to help us in our education about Hansen´s and also to help with fundraising in Ecuador to help us survive these tough economic times.
Our home is unlike any other in the country. We have now become a refuge for those who need a temporary shelter to hide away while they react from the disease like our young new patient. As long as Hansen´s exists, people will need a place where they will feel safe and lovingly cared for while they receive their treatment with dignity and respect.
Damien House would not be open today, if it were not for your love, prayers, and support. Would you be willing to go one more step for us as a voice for those who still live with the stigma of Hansen´s? Would you send this letter to family, friends, neighbors, your workplace, Book Clubs, civic groups, church (Propagation of Faith Office in Your Dioceses), your local bishop, school, and prayer groups, Lions and Rotary Clubs, Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis? Today people are looking for charities with little to no overhead, Damien House, Inc in Chicago is only a mailing address and generous volunteers offer their time with needed tasks. Every penny of your donation goes straight to Ecuador for the care of patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can make a donation by using the JustGive button on our homepage www.thedamienhouse.org or by mailing it Damien House, c/o Suzanne Belz-President, 4407 North Elston Avenue. Chicago, IL 60630. Also be sure to check out our videos on the Damien House YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/DamienHouse?feature=plcp . We invite you to write us at DamienHouse@gmail.com with other fundraising ideas you may have.
We believe in Miracles and in You! May God Bless You and keep you well. Know that all of your friends in Guayaquil pray for you everyday.
Much Love, Sister Annie Credidio, BVM