690. Abi Estelle
A UK doctor has founded a charity in order to provide specialist medical treatments for children in developing countries.
Abi Estelle, currently living in Florida, created ‘Willing and Abel’ after visiting a hospital in Cameroon, where she was moved by the plight of a young baby, Abel, born with his heart outside of his chest. The charity has raised £250,000 and given life-saving treatment to over 150 children, arranging for their patients to travel overseas when they require such specialist care.
More recently Ethan, a young boy from Ghana, returned home after being flown to the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, where he received complex surgery on an abdominal wall defect.
In a personal letter to Abi, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Your tireless work through ‘Willing and Abel’ is transforming lives across Africa by helping children access very specialist surgeries that would otherwise be unavailable to them.”
“Thank you for the Point of Light Award – it is a joy and an honour to receive this on behalf of the Willing and Abel charity team. We are a small group of volunteers who seek to make a difference one child at a time by helping to arrange specialist surgery for children in developing nations who struggle to access healthcare.
It all began in 2008, working at a rural mission hospital in Cameroon with a newborn boy, Abel. He was born with a rare condition, his heart on the outside of his chest. Wondering what to do, I recollected the wise words of Mother Teresa: “Never worry about numbers, help one person at a time and begin with the person nearest you”. This inspired me and gave me courage to help arrange Abel’s operation in Italy.
Following his surgery and subsequent requests for help, W&A was established and has one by one assisted over 150 children to have specialist surgery from fifteen different nations. The logistics and finances, especially for the most complex cases, can sometimes be overwhelming and a big step of faith to take on. But we always see communities come together and God work out the details in ways we never could have planned.”
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