Twenty dollars may not seem like a much, but Montreal journalist Sue Montgomery says it can help make all the difference for a little girl named Waina Dorcelus.
The three-year-old Haitian girl recently arrived in Montreal with her mom Nini Dorcelus to be treated for a bone infection that destroyed the child’s left tibia two years ago.
Back home in Haiti, the only treatment option for chronic osteomyelitis was amputating Waina’s leg — a prospect that haunted the little girl and her mom.
"She said to me, 'Mama, are you going to let them cut my leg off?' And I answered, 'No, they are not going to cut you leg,' Dorcelus told CBC News.
The girl's case was brought to the attention of Montreal’s Shriners Hospital for Children, which specializes in orthopaedics.
The hospital agreed to treat Waina free of charge.
"It is an opportunity for us to contribute very intensely to not only the physical condition, but the quality of life of patients from other countries," Sharon Brissette, Head of Nursing and Patient Services for the Shriners Hospital, told CBC News.
Montgomery was approached by contacts in Haiti to see if she could sponsor the girl and her mother during their treatment period in Montreal.
The situation resonated with the mother of two.
“Imagine if your kid couldn’t walk and the choice was cutting [the leg] off,” she told CBC News. “We were looking at amputation if she doesn’t have this surgery. And in Haiti, living with an amputation is the kiss of death.”
So Montgomery offered to take in Waina and her mother while the Shriners Hospital treats the girl.
“You can’t save the whole world, but why not help somebody if you can? And I think we’re very privileged here [in Canada],” she said.
Now she’s asking other Montrealers to get involved and help the two while they’re here.
Montgomery refers to it as building a team.
“A team that can get this kid through this ordeal, get her walking and get her back to Haiti,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery said contributions can range from money to offers to drive Waina and and her mother to two medical appointments every week.
As to cash donations, Montgomery says $20 is what she normally recommends.
“That’s how much we spend on Starbucks in a couple of days… And it’s amazing how much money you can raise with [donations of] $20,” she said.
Anyone interested in helping Waina and her mother can contact Montgomery at her Gazette email address.