In September 2013 we met a man that changed our perspective on life. Dave Peek had been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (a scarring of the lung tissue). Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic and ultimately fatal disease characterized by a progressive decline in lung function. The only thing that could save Dave was a lung transplant.
Through an urgent fundraising campaign we were able to help Dave to cover some of the costs associated with medical expenses. As he struggled with his health, his employer laid him off after 25 years with the company. He needed financial support to help him fight this disease. Though our gift was small, Dave was so appreciative. He became like family. His messages of support, his positive vibes and his strength made us smile every day.
Months later Dave had gotten the news that he was eligible for a lung transplant. He made it through his surgery and we got to meet him one year later where he surprised us at a Thaakat charity BBQ.
Recently, Dave was back in the hospital and struggling. He lost his battle to IPF this weekend. We have lost a marvelous man. He was one man who had been our entire cheer staff. He was one amazing man who continued to smile despite his struggles.
To help spread awareness about this disease we had gathered some words from Dave when we first met him. Please keep Dave and his family in your prayers. Please continue to spread awareness about IPF and other terminal illnesses that continue to plague the lives of people so close to us. Your message of support could be all the person needs to build the spirit to fight their illness.
How has IPF been affecting DAVE? “IPF has stolen my life and there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot breathe; you cannot catch your breath. I have a great family who supports me and loves me so no worries there, but every day is a struggle. Every day things like taking a shower are always interesting- trying to catch your breath, trying to change clothes, but I’m not complaining.
I just got out of the hospital on Monday. The meds I’m on lower my immune system so I am much more susceptible to common illnesses. One misconception people have about IPF is that people think smoking causes IPF and this is not always the case. You could be living a healthy life as a non- smoker but it will and can find you. “
What does DAVE wish for? “I wish more people were aware that IPF is alife ending disease. I would like more research to be done on the disease, on how it develops, how we can protect ourselves, on more treatment options.” Read More »
Our commitment to healthcare and women’s empowerment lives on through our newly constructed Fatmata Maternity Center. This facility was opened in April 2014 in a rural village in Sierra Leone in the Pujehun district. Since our opening we have seen and treated more than 5,000 patients and helped to deliver more than 100 babies in a safe, comfortable and hygienic environment.
Hina Khan, Senior Board Member and Public Health expert, took a deeper dive into statistics from our center to bring you this report.
Disease Burdens across categories: Women in comparison to men bare a greater disease burden across all three age groups. Malaria has the greatest disease burden across all three age groups. ARI/Pneumonia has the second highest disease burden for the adult and children < five age groups. Typhoid fever has the second highest disease burden for the adolescent population.
What is startling to read is that the highest overall burden of disease is on the children under five population. The burden of disease on the children under five years of age is nearly 1.5 times higher than that on the adult population and is roughly six times higher than the disease burden on the adolescent population. These children are the most vulnerable and often times unable to communicate the root of why they are feeling the way they are. Many of them come to our center malnourished, further leaving them exposed to dangerous diseases and infection.
As mentioned, Malaria continues to be our biggest battle across all three population subsets (child, adolescent and adult).
In January 2015 we treated a total of 55 cases, but by June the total number of treated cases escalated to 134. To give you a better perspective of how swiftly this disease spreads, from January all the way through June, the total number of Malaria cases treated at the maternity center has risen to 542 (this number includes cases from all three population subsets). This is 25 percent of all cases treated at our center.
Symptoms of Malaria range in severity beginning from fever, chills, body aches but can quickly lead to mortality, if left untreated. And all of this begins with the bite of a mosquito.
So, essentially all we have to do is prevent these mosquitoes from reaching people, right? Not as simple as it sounds. Sewage water, floods and public restrooms create massive breeding grounds for these dangerous little creatures. Though every mother receives a net to protect herself in the home, we cannot enforce the use of these. Repellents are available but extremely expensive.
To give you perspective of what a threat this is; Since the Ebola outbreak began in February 2014, around 300,000 people have died from Malaria (more than one million people every year). The Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimates approximately 150 people a month die of Malaria in Sierra Leone.
Stay tuned, we’ve got a lot of work to do ahead of us and will need your support! Read More »
Thaakat’s friends at a locally owned-and-operated IT company in New Jersey, Process Stream have partnered with Applebee’s and Rose Group Dining for an initiative designed to support charitable projects in Africa. The program, called “Dining to Donate,” is a longstanding program of Applebee’s.
By dining in at a local Applebee’s in New Jersey on Tuesday, July 21 you can help support our global projects. 10% of your total bill will go to support the Konadu Basic School in Ghana and the Fatmata Maternity Center in Sierra Leone. The donations would go towards continuing to provide an enriching education to village children at Konadu, and continuing to support the obstetric and postnatal care of women in remote areas at the Fatmata Maternity Center.
The two participating Applebee’s restaurants are:
3330 Brunswick Pike ~ Lawrenceville, NJ
333 State Highway #33 ~ Hamilton, NJ
*Dining to Donate meals can also be ordered for takeout.
You must have the flyer with you in order for us to receive donations (available here).
Come out and enjoy a meal while helping the cause!
Thank you to our Thaakat friend Mariam Mirza for organizing this!
Read More »