In Paraguay, a poor landlocked country in the heart of South America, a child with cancer has very few options. In this country, some 60% of the rural population lives below the poverty line. Children who are fortunate enough to be properly diagnosed have only a 50% survival rate over five years—in part because they may have to wait months or even years for treatment due to lack of funds or chemotherapy drugs. By contrast, the National Cancer Institute here estimates that pediatric cancer patients in the United States have a five-year survival rate of almost 80%.
THE POSADA EMILY
With the help of our partners at the San Peregrino Foundation, we have built the “Posada Emily” dedicated to Emily Bigelow Nalley in just one year. Families of children awaiting whatever treatment is available at the National Cancer Institute currently have no place to stay and often sleep on hospital grounds. The posada is situatuated directly behind the hospital and can be accesses without having to cross any major roads. A ramp will connect the two properties for children who are in wheelchairs.
Manitos (“Little Hands”) is a charity dedicated to aiding children with cancer in Paraguay. It was created by Claire Bigelow Nalley and Richard Nalley in 2007 in honor of their daughter, Emily Bigelow Nalley, who died of complications from lymphoma in 2006. She lived her 4 years surrounded by love, not least from two remarkable Paraguayan women, Betty Oviedo and Marie Martinez, who were bright lights of joy for her in a dark time.