Dr. Hodes Comes to U.S. and Canada

Dr. Hodes will be kicking off the new year with a brief tour of the U.S. and Canada! His trip includes Ann Arbor, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, San Diego, and Denver.

Nuri’s Incredible Progress!

On Christmas day, 2009, I started Nuri on cancer chemotherapy, after the pathologists at University of Rochester confirmed that he had Hodgkin’s Disease. He had 6 cycles of ABVD and did fine. Yesterday he came in for a checkup, doing great. What a difference 11 months makes!

Help us make this Christmas just as special for many other patients waiting for treatment by donating today!

– Dr. Hodes

Photos used with permission.

11 Heart Patients, 11 Smiles

I recently got an email from Dr. Krishna Kumar, my colleague in India. He  is a Harvard-trained pediatric cardiologist, asking how the group is doing after their heart surgeries. (Click to read about these patients.) I simply sent this photo back, with the caption “today’s photo says it all.”

– Dr. Rick Hodes

Painter Donates Artwork to Raise Funds

Fikru Gebre/Mariam is a young Ethiopian painter in his 30’s who has a studio in Addis Ababa and another in Paris. He splits his time between the 2 venues. I happened to meet Fikru at a friend’s home recently, and spoke of my work here. He was so taken by it and disturbed by the images of my patients, that he decided to donate a painting for us to sell at The Dinner of Unconditional Love, a fund raising dinner hosted by Noel Cunningham in Denver on January 13, 2011.

Last week, Noel and I went out to Fikru’s home and studio, and I chose a painting. Fikru said I’d made the best choice.

Fikru’s website www.Fikru.fr shows his art. He exhibits in the same studios in Paris that show Picasso and Modigliani. His paintings of this size start selling at about $24,000. We will start bidding at that level, and hope it goes a higher!

– Dr. Rick Hodes

A Letter to Dr. Rosengart and Markos’ Story

I recently sent the following letter to Dr. Todd Rosengart, a cardiac surgeon at the Stony Brook University Medical Center in Stony Brook, NY. In the letter, I tell the story of Marcos, a former heart patient of mine in the late 1980’s, who is now a healthy and newly-married! Enjoy the story and the picture that follows:

Dear Dr. Rosengart,

I am an American physician from Syosset, NY, working in Ethiopia for over 20 years.

In the 1980s, when I was teaching and practicing cardiology at Addis Ababa University, I was confronted with many Ethiopian kids with correctable heart disease, both congenital and rheumatic.

Over a few years, I was able to send over 25 heart patients abroad for surgery, several to Stony Brook via Healing the Children. For example, in about 1987 and again in 1989 I sent Markos Bekele and Andalem Habtemichael to Long Island. They had surgeries at Stonybrook.

I’d like to tell you about Markos: One day in about 1986, someone knocked on my office door on the 8th floor of the university hospital in Addis Ababa. It was 13 year old Markos Bekele, and his older brother. Markos was clearly an ill boy, he was thin, weak, and blue (cyanotic), with marked clubbing of the nail beds. He could only walk 3 steps without stopping to catch his breath, at our 8000 feet altitude. He was completely housebound, unless his older brother carried him piggy-back outside.

I confirmed that he had tetrology of Fallot, and with your help, sent him twice to Stonybrook, where he had surgery by Dr. Anagnastopolous. At first, he had a shunt created, and a year or 2 later, he had the definitive correction.

Markos is now healthy, and is a well-known soccer coach in Addis Ababa. Today, the boy who could not walk 3 steps, easily walked down the aisle to get married. I attended Markos’ wedding. Along with me was Andalem Habtemichael, who had closure of a PDA and correction of scoliosis at Stonybrook, with multiple complications and months of hospitalization. Andalem is now an accountant and owner of a pizzeria.

To end with thank you seems completely inadequate, but what else can I say?

At the very least, thank you, thank you.

With best wishes,

Rick Hodes, MD, MACP
Medical Director, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Markos and his new wife.


Photos posted with permission.

Tesfa.org: “Treatment for Daguma”

Special thank you to Tesfa.org for posting a great article called “Treatment for Daguma.” As the article says, we will be looking to get Daguma spine surgery as soon as possible. Click here to read full article.

Urgent Appeal to Help Masresha!

We need to raise $1,200 to purchase Hodgkin’s Disease medicine for this boy. His name is Masresha — click here to read his full story.

His mom was properly advised by the people at the university hospital in Addis Abeba that he should not start treatment until all the medicine had been arranged. She managed to get 2 doses (1 cycle) of medicine. He needs at least 6 cycles. He started treatment about 2 weeks ago, and you don’t want to interrupt treatment, so he needs to be treated right away.

Masresha will have a very high chance of survival only if he is treated properly. Please help us raise money for him. If you donate for him, please email us at ethiopianspines@gmail.com so we can properly allocate the funds. Thank you!

Photo used with permission.