April Newsletter
Presnel's Path to Recovery
Presnel Dieu, is a father of five with a treatable form of cancer in a country with few medical services for cancer patients. In July 2021, while Presnel was helping FlyingHigh4Haiti build the ‘Kay Project’, an arts center in Ile-a-Vache, his family contacted us to report that he was sick and had a large tumor on his neck. It was not easy to find anywhere to treat him in the south of Haiti and his condition was deteriorating fast. He grew weak and anemic as the tumor continued to grow to the size of a pumpkin.  

Thanks to Elizabeth Campa with Partners in Health, Presnel was able to get a biopsy done at the University Hospital in Mirebalais, about six hours drive from Ley Cayes, followed by a series of blood transfusions to rebuild his strength. After many phone calls and doctor visits, FH4H also managed to obtain chemotherapy treatment for Presnel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. His general health status improved dramatically after he received marvelous care from Dr Joseph Bernard Jr at Innovation Health International (IHI) cancer program. The tumor quickly began to shrink. 

However, it did not get any easier as he urgently needed radiation therapy to kill the cancer cells and eliminate the tumor completely. We were shocked to learn that radiotherapy does not exist in Haiti - at all. Even patients that can afford it have to travel abroad, to the Dominican Republic or the United States.

Presnel before starting the medical treatment, after the chemo therapy in Haiti and now in NPH Dominican Republic
We reached out to everyone we knew to find an affordable solution. One of our friends in the medical field, Jonas Haeger, helped FH4H find a radiation oncologist in Santo Domingo, Dr. Luis Moreno Sanchez, who volunteered to treat Presnel free of charge at the top-of-the-line Instituto Nacional del Cancer Rosa de Tavares (INCART).

At the time, Haiti was in the midst of the crisis triggered by the assassination of president Moise and an August earthquake. Street protests and national strikes, as well as kidnappings, made it very difficult to get a passport and visa for Presnel to travel, accompanied by his wife, Ivonne. We are extremely thankful to the courage and determination of FH4H Haitian volunteer, Widmy Mercious, who drove everywhere on his motorbike (which was stolen in the process) to deliver paperwork and eventually pick up the passport and visa.

FH4H friends and longtime supporters, Pilar and Mark Silverman, also extended their generous help, introducing us to the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) organization in the Dominican Republic which provides disadvantaged children with homes, health services, and educational programs in San Pedro de Macoris. They offered food and housing to Presnel and his wife during his lengthy cancer treatment program, ensuring he had a warm and loving environment for his recovery.  

Last month, Ines Lozano and the Rotarian Graciela Nearing traveled to San Pedro de Macoris to visit Presnel and Ivonne, as well as thanking the staff at NPH who gave them such good care. They were able to visit the home and school, as well as some Haitian children suffering from cancer who are being cared for at NPH' s Casa Santa Maria. Even though Presnel is an adult, the NPH caregivers accepted him and his wife with open arms, making his stay as comfortable and happy as possible, while also ensuring his nursing care and travel to regular doctor’s visits.

We are especially grateful to Kieran Rigney, (National Director of NPH DR) , Dr. Reyes (NPH Doctor), Aurelia Monica (NPH nurse), Miguel Polo, (NPH volunteer coordinator), and James Casimir (Assistant to the NPH program for cancer patients).
Graciela Nearing and Ines Lozano with Presnel's nurses
Miguel Polo
We found a joyful, grateful Presnel surrounded by loving professional caregivers, as well as some very happy children. Presnel's recovery is amazing to behold, even impressing his doctors. The tumor is gone, leaving behind only a long scar on his neck, and his strength is back. His doctors are now confident he will make a full recovery. In a few weeks, Presnel and Ivonne will be able to return to their home in Haiti and reunite with their five children. 

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to NPH in the Dominican Republic and to all the people that contributed to Presnel’s recovery.

To know more about NPH’s work follow this link to their website:
Kieran Rigney, Ivonne, Presnel, and Ines
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