Four Years After: Remembering and Reflecting

January 5, 2017

A Letter From Our President

At 4:53 PM on January 12th, 2010, Haiti’s ground quaked, and shattered walls, communities, and lives. Today, the St. Boniface community gathers for a memorial service, a time to pray for those who were lost, reflect on challenges faced and recognize how far everyone has come in the four years since the earthquake.

We will remember loved ones who died in the earthquake and its aftermath. We will remember the cracks in the St. Boniface Hospital walls, but be grateful that the building remained upright and sound. Other wounds were bigger and have taken longer to heal, but recovery goes on.

Four years ago, a young man named Maxsony remained buried in the rubble of his school for three days before he was rescued. He was paralyzed from the waist down, and very few hospitals had the ability to care for him. In such a post-disaster setting, a patient like Maxsony wasn’t expected to survive a year.

But immediately following the earthquake, the staff and community at St. Boniface in Fond des Blancs decided to accept patients with spinal cord injuries, driven by our mission “to help when no else can.” Now, four years later, we are a national center for spinal cord injury care. Our clinic is both a reminder of our scars and one of our greatest successes; all but one of our initial patients are still alive today.

And that includes Maxsony, who today has an infectious smile and serious basketball skills, as well as a job at St. Boniface as a peer educator. He doesn’t let the tragedy of the earthquake slow him down, and neither does the rest of our community. Four years after the earthquake, St. Boniface continues to provide care of all types to anyone who walks through our doors, with respect and kindness.

I am incredibly proud of the strength and resilience of the St. Boniface community. We have come a long way since the earthquake, and we will continue moving forward. We could not have managed without your support. Thank you for the role you continue to play in this journey.

Kenbe Fem,

Conor Shapiro
President & CEO
Health Equity International/St. Boniface Hospital