Ottawa woman helps those a world away
Published Friday, February 1, 2008 12:33PM EST
One Ottawa woman's dream to help an impoverished hospital in Ecuador is on its way to becoming a reality as almost $250,000 of previously owned medical equipment and supplies left an Ottawa warehouse in a 40-foot shipping container Saturday.
Shannon Tessier started the Charity of Hope to Assist the Needy Children of Ecuador, or CHANCE, after joining the Volunteer Abroad program with her brother Darren. As part of this program, the two chose the Oscar Jand Hospital in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador as a charity to focus on.
The 22-year-old Carleton University student is already in Ecuador awaiting the supplies which include 30 hospital beds, 12 examination beds and 50 wheelchairs. Through CHANCE, she raised a further $11,500 to send the supplies.
The Oscar Jand hospital, which serves 90 per cent of the community in San Cristobal, is in desperate need of medical equipment and supplies. Almost 50 per cent of the population San Cristobal fall below the poverty line and infant mortality is roughly five times higher than Canada.
After seeing the need at Oscar Jand, Shannon decided she had to do something, her mother, Laura Tessier, explains from Ottawa as she loads up the shipping container.
"She took me out for breakfast one morning and said, 'mom, I have a dream.' She said, 'I know there are a lot of children out there in a lot of hospitals. I'm going to Ecuador and I think we can make a difference,'" she says.
Shannon did have a pro helping her out, as Ottawa philanthropist Dave Smith took on her cause and collected the equipment.
"I contacted every hospital from Hawkesbury to Toronto and it's amazing when you tell them what you're doing, the people you're helping, how they come on board," Smith says.
However, just before she left for the South American nation, Shannon said this was only the first of many shipments to help improve the lives of residents there.
"I just know my daughter. I just know the rewards that have come out of this for all of us. It's just not going to stop," said Tessier.
With a report from CTV's John Hua