What Every Parent Wants

Every parent knows what it’s like to care for a sick child—the uncertainty, the frustration, even the fear.

For me, what always gets me is the moment I realize I can’t comfort my son. Or when he complains about something that I can’t possibly solve on my own. It’s heartbreaking because I want to be his protector, his hero, and make everything right again.

Most parents would gladly trade places with a sick child. And this is Alexi’s lament right now.

“When my son gets sick, it’s like I am sick too,” he says as his little boy sits quietly on his knee.

John is Alexi’s youngest (and sickest) son. All his children have been sick at one time or another, and all with the same symptoms—severe diarrhea, constant nausea, horrible stomach pain. This father is very familiar with effects of intestinal worms, some of which come and go, but John’s problems are persistent. And the worms are refusing to move.

“He’s really suffering right now,” Alexi tells me. “If it’s not the pain in his tummy, it’s the fevers. It’s one or the other and I don’t know what to do.”

This father of six lives in Haiti, high up in the hills and far removed from anything we would describe as livable. There is no medical clinic in this village, not even running water. There are no faucets. No flushing toilets. No place to bathe.

This is why John is so sick. The dirty water and unsanitary conditions are the perfect breeding ground for parasites. These nasty worms are now multiplying in John’s belly, and sapping all the nutrients from his tiny body. The cure for this horrible condition?

A miracle pill that costs just 44 cents. 

But Alexi can’t afford it, and that was the reason I was visiting him. Thanks to the generosity of donors, World Concern is distributing these life-changing tablets to hundreds of sick Haitian kids.

The 44-Cent-Cure is the most cost-effective solution to poverty’s biggest problem, because within days of taking the pill, the worms are dead, John is cured, nutrients are being absorbed back into his body and he’s able to return to school and enjoy life as a happy, healthy child.

Alexi is a farmer, or at least was until Hurricane Matthew destroyed his crops.

Now, Alexi survives day-to-day, working odd jobs to scrape together enough money for the occasional meal and to send his kids to school. He’s planted some corn and some grain, but the plants are not even close to harvest yet.

So this single father does what he can and puts on a brave face. Yet he admits even this is getting harder and harder to do. Especially since John has been so sick.

“I am responsible for him and have no time to cry,” he whispers, not wanting his son to hear how difficult things are. “I must work.”

In just a few days, the pill that we gave John will have killed all the worms in his belly. His fevers will be gone. The nausea and diarrhea will be gone. And Alexi can return to work.

All because of a pill that costs less than 2 quarters.

Alexi and I have something in common. We are both dads and dearly love our kids. We love Jesus. We both  work. And we both want our families to be healthy.

After praying together, Alexi and I shook hands. And that’s when his story really hit home for me. Our hands could not have been more different.  His are strong; his palms calloused and his fingers tough and weathered. Mine are the exact opposite. We have lived vastly different lives.

The biggest difference though? I am in a position to help.

I had the opportunity to pray with Alexi last month. Will you join us in praying for the families in Haiti who need your help?

One mom’s crusade to kill worms

Chelsi and Brookelyn
Chelsi Wylie and her daughter Brookelyn support the 44-Cent Cure after their own experience with intestinal parasites.

Chelsi Wylie is passionate about supporting the 44-Cent Cure. She has seen first-hand the painful effects intestinal parasites can have on a child.

Her daughter Brookelyn developed a scaly spot on her scalp when she was 2 years old. Her pediatrician thought it might be psoriasis or ringworm, but when it spread to the size of a baseball and Brookelyn’s hair started to fall out, Chelsi knew something was wrong.

“She would cry and scream when I brushed her hair. It was so painful,” recalled Chelsi, who took Brookelyn to a dermatologist, but still had no answer. The pain went on for months, until finally Brookelyn was diagnosed with pinworms – a common form of intestinal parasites.

“I didn’t realize you could get worms here,” said Chelsi. “I thought that was a third world problem.”

After receiving treatment, Brookelyn was cured.

Recently, Chelsi heard about the 44-Cent Cure on KLTY 94.9 FM in Dallas and learned how World Concern is helping cure children in poor countries from parasites that deplete their bodies of nutrients and make them too sick and lethargic to attend school. The cure costs just 44 cents.

“I have to get involved in this,” Chelsi told her husband, who agreed. “After all Brookelyn suffered, we don’t want any other children to suffer like this.”

Chelsi asked her friends and family to support the 44-Cent Cure last Christmas and raised $650 – that’s enough to cure more than 1,400 children! Now, she’s planning fundraisers at her church and in her hometown.

Thankfully, Brookelyn is now a healthy 5-year-old. “We’re fortunate to live where we have access to healthcare, clean water, and a place to go to the bathroom,” said Chelsi. “But people are suffering all over the world.”

Join Chelsi in this cause! Every 44 cents you donate cures one child.

Haiti Humanitarians – Kill the worms for 44 cents

13-year-old Nadeje likely has intestinal worms. World Concern helped her today with a pill to kill them.
13-year-old Nadeje likely has intestinal worms. World Concern helped her today with a pill to kill them.

I met a 13-year-old girl in Haiti today who suffers from an upset stomach and digestion problems. Her name is Nadeje, and she has a bright smile and proclaims she likes French class. I saw Nadeje at a crowded private school, where World Concern was distributing memendezole pills. Nadeje was happy to take one of the little white pills – because she believes it will make her stomach feel better. More than likely, it will.

The little white pills kill intestinal worms, and she probably has some. About 40% of children do – often in poor countries. The worms not only sap energy, but cost girls like Nadeje much of the value of food.

Nadeje was one of a couple hundred Port-au-Prince schoolchildren in blue uniforms to receive the pills today. They clamored over each other to receive their tablets, which dissolve in their mouths.

World Concern humanitarians distribute about 6 million Tylenol-sized mebendezole deworming pills every year, handing them out in about a dozen poor countries. The pills kill parasites that enter through contaminated water, food – or even bare feet. The deworming medication is a simple and significant impact on the life and future of a child.

We call the pills the 44 cent cure because a year’s worth of mebendezole costs about 44 cents. It’s two pills, six months apart, with a vitamin A supplement and a lesson on personal hygiene.

After the distribution, I spoke with the principal of this elementary school. She expects the vast majority of students have had worms at some point, and believes the medicine is key to good health and the ability to learn.

Poor families in Haiti already struggle to afford basic food. When you add parasites into the equation, good nutrition becomes a bit ridiculous.

The 44 cent cure is not the whole answer, but help with that too – clean water, latrines, health education.

At the very least, the pills are a fantastic start.

Learn more and donate.

Happiness in Haiti! The deworming medication easily dissolves on the tongue.
Happiness in Haiti! The deworming medication easily dissolves on the tongue.
Two pills and a vitamin A tablet. It's a year's treatment to cure a child - for just 44 cents.
Two pills and a vitamin A tablet. It's a year's treatment to cure a child - for just 44 cents.