Welcome to the Rufino Chicop Hope Fund. I would like to introduce myself and my UA partner. My name is Courtney Slanaker and my partner is Brittney Kinsley. Brittney and I are both University of Arizona students studying for a semester abroad in Guatemala. I am a Public Health major on target to graduate in 2 years and then plan to continue on to nursing school. Brittney is a physiology major hoping to continue on to medical school. When we arrived in Guatemala for our fall semester Brittney and I started interning at Centro de Salud, also known as the Center for Health. This is a combination of several small clinics that serve the general population of Sacatepequez (outside of Antigua) for free. In our interning endeavors we have had ample opportunities to travel around to various clinics in the greater Sacatepequez area and visit with the different communities.
On our visit to San Mateo Milpas Altas, we were introduced to a young man named Rufino Chicop. On our first meeting he instantly became “cerca de nuestras corazones” (“close to our hearts”). Rufino Chicop is a young man, 23 years old, suffering with a rare skin condition called Ichthyosis. In 23 years Rufino has only been seen by one doctor when he was an infant and no treatment or care was implemented into his life. Without question, we knew we had to do something. How could one man with so much life suffer so much every day? It was unproductive to question why help or some form of treatment or relief had not been provided before. We knew we just needed to get him help. As of right now, Rufino has been seen by a team of doctors and we have implemented treatment for Rufino. The current donations of creams and antibiotics will only last for about a month. Brittney and I decided the best idea was to start a Hope Fund to continue care and treatment for Rufino and to ensure a healthier and enhanced life. With these donations Rufino will be able to continue treatment and most importantly continue smiling and living.
Our initial donation goal is $2500 dollars. In Guatemala that will amount to approximately 19,500 Quetzales. Rufino uses about 400Q worth of creams and antibiotics every 3 to 4 weeks. With 144,00Q Rufino will have at least 36 months of creams. The remaining money, about 5100Q will go to house- old items and family needs, such as soap, clothes, food, etc. Let me provide an illustration of how your donation will help Rufino – If I were to donate $25 dollars, Rufino could buy 3 weeks worth of creams. In hopes that we reach our donation goal, all of the donations will go directly to Rufino and his family and 4% of the donations will go to Indiegogo. If we do not reach our goal, 9% of the donations will go to Indiegogo. Please help us reach our donation goal, and more importantly help us create a better, more comfortable life for Rufino! It is hard to donate money to someone you may not know but we do have some perks to offer. If you have a sweet tooth of any level and if you are one of the first ten to donate $25 dollars you will receive a surprise array of HOMEMADE sweets! Does it get any better??? But wait… There is one other perk. If you donate $50 dollars a giant hug and kiss will be awarded from yours truly, Courtney and Brittney if you are one of the first 5 and just maybe the first 10! What else could you possibly need? You get a giant hug and kiss and you help save a really important life!
This is the hard part……I know that there are many organizations asking for money and all for really good causes. Unfortunately for Rufino, in his first 23 years he has never received help from an organization, from a doctor, in reality from no one. This young man touched my heart the first time I met him. As I walked into his home there was an overwhelming smell of fecal pig matter, and it was dark and cold. Rufino emerged from his tiny room and gave me the biggest smile and I could barely smile back from how shocked I was at his condition. I will not explain his condition in detail to maintain some privacy for Rufino, however I lost my appetite for the day and I was taken aback by how horrible his living conditions were and his own health condition, yet he managed to smile at me. After meeting Rufino for the first time I really reflected on my life and had to just sit down and realize how lucky I was growing up and am now. At that moment I decided whether or not I did anything else in Guatemala I was going to get this young man help. From that point on it has been an overwhelming scheduling of doctor’s appointments, pharmacy visits, house visits and Dona Luisa visits. Side note: Dona Luisa is a Bakery that makes banana bread, which is Rufino’s favorite.
Rufino’s condition has improved tremendously already with the little bit of treatment that he has received. The dermatologist was astonished how fast Rufino’s skin has been improving. His smile is even wider now that he can move more freely with the creams!
Thank you to Doctor Edgar Migual Lopez Alvarez, Dean of the Francisco Medical School and Cleveland Clinic Representative, and his team of doctors and medical school students, Rufino now has a treatment plan implemented to help improve his condition, with the team of doctors assuming the cost of the treatments and visits. Without the medical costs donated and concern of this group of Doctors none of this would be possible. Here is a link to Doctor Edgar Alvarez's website for the Health Link Cleveland Clinic: http://www.doctoredgarlopez.com/
There is no monetary reward for us, the incredible smile from Rufino is enough to stay up late writing donation proposals, procrastinating on my homework and thinking of other ways in which we can help. Rufino’s home has become a second home for me. I feel an overwhelming joy when I see Rufino and see how much happier he is. Remember that one saying “It takes a village to raise a child”… Over the past three weeks the community has come together to bring water to Rufino’s house, kids ranging from 3 to 13 years old have carried cement rocks to his house to create a new room for him and the list goes on. I really cannot express the excitement on this keyboard but know whether you can or cannot make a donation, you have a voice, tell people about our cause. If you can donate, ANY amount will help and if you cannot, PLEASE tell people and have them tell people! Best wishes to all!