Cross country team fundraises for Haiti

Michael McKee, Staff Reporter

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A child is sick. The only way for recovery involves a delicate heart surgery. Doctors spend hours operating on the child until the operation is complete. The child awakens and is greeted with candy and bubbles, something he has never seen. This kind of miracle was provided by the Revere women’s cross country teams fundraiser for the children in Haiti.  

This past fall sports season, the women’s cross country team spent countless hours collecting Dum Dum candies along with bubbles to send to children in Haiti. Co-leader of the fundraising and junior Dalaney Mier got the fundraiser rolling by getting her team involved for assistance in the process.

“Although Dum Dums seem like a simple thing for us, they are a huge treat that Haitian children never have. Bubbles are just an easy and fun thing for them to play with,” Mier said.

59 percent of Haiti’s population lives on less than a 2 USD salary a day, while 24 percent lives in extreme poverty or less. Mier started the fundraising when she heard about her friend’s mother’s trip to Haiti.

“My fellow teammate and friend, Hannah Jenkins’ mother, Christiane Jenkins, is a nurse at Akron Children’s Hospital in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. She, along with other nurses and doctors, traveled to St. Damien’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to preform 12 life-saving heart surgeries,” Mier said.

After hearing of this news Mier got the idea for the fundraiser. They started the fundraising with the team by explaining Mrs. Jenkins trip and how the fundraising could really make a difference in a Haitian childs day. Port-au-prince is one of the most densely populated cities in Haiti. In 2010 an earthquake severely devastated the country. Mier explained what purpose the Dum Dums candies will serve.

“The Dum Dums and bubbles were for those kids [at the hospital] as well as the many kids in the orphanage across the street. We thought this was a good way to involve the team in something that relates to someone close to us, but overall impacts a larger cause,” Mier said.

The team chose to collect bubble because after delicate surgeries, the patient must maintain normal respiratory conditions in order to prevent further complications after the operation. Bubbles help maintain the proper respiratory conditions for the children. Co-leader of the fundraiser and senior Hannah Jenkins described how the treats and bubbles were important for the children.

“The kids really enjoy suckers as a treat. Bubbles are used to encourage kids after surgery to sit up, take deep breaths, and prevent some post operative respiratory complications. The kids at St Damien’s Hospital loved everything collected and that other kids contributed,” Jenkins said.

After the team spent hours collecting for the fundraising, it was finally complete. Mier explained what the fundraising meant to the team and how it proved to be worth while in the end.

“Many people often forget how lucky we are to have clean, running water, a bed to sleep on, or even a roof above our head. For most of the kids that these items were sent to, they lack these things we take for granted. This fundraiser was a simple way to brighten someone’s day,” Mier said.

Along with the cross country team’s fundraising, Mier’s mother worked with her church in order to provide the children of Haiti who had to go through the intense surgery with backpacks filled with school supplies and other commodities. Jenkins outlined how Mier’s mother also helped in the fundraising to help the children in need.

“Dalaney’s mom, Lisa Mier, gathered other donations for the trip. She asked the members of her church to donate. Because of her efforts, my mom was able to give each child who had heart surgery their own backpack filled with school supplies, personal care items, socks and underwear. She also took board games, coloring books, crayons, and colored pencils,” Jenkins said.

Christiane Jenkins traveled to Haiti to perform the surgeries and bring the supplies collected by the team. Jenkins mentioned the effect all of the fundraising had on the children while she was in Haiti.

“The patients loved their backpacks. Each of the kids put them on immediately and didn’t want to take them off. It was precious. The suckers were a huge hit and the bubbles did exactly what they were supposed to do. We went through almost 40 bottles of bubbles,” Jenkins said.

Mier described how her church was involved in the fundraising as well.

“Our church also donated $500 [to the cause]. With this money we bought $500 worth of items to put in the backpacks,” Mier said.

The cross country team succeeded in its effort to bring children happiness in a hard time and recover from a very delicate surgery. As the fundraising came to an end, the team was happy with the results and hopes to continue this kind of fundraising in places where it really matters.