Exodus’ parents knew something was terribly wrong with their son.
Childhood malnutrition isn’t uncommon in Gulu City, Uganda, where Gloria and John live with their three children. Gloria and John knew of many other families with children whose growth was stunted. They knew families who had lost children – tragically watching them fade, while help remained out of reach and inaccessible.
But because they’d seen malnutrition before, they knew Exodus’ case was worse. He was declining rapidly. He was always sick. He breastfed regularly yet continued to lose weight.
In the time since their second youngest child was born, a new medical facility had opened much closer to the family’s homestead: the Laroo Health Center III, which offered a supplementary feeding program maintained by Feed the Children.
“Exodus was very weak when he got admitted for the program,” Gloria says. “(That) got me worried and stressed.”
Exodus was quickly enrolled in the program, where he was given a special formula fortified with vitamins and minerals. This formula was designed specifically for undernourished children and can mean the difference between stunting and normal childhood development.
Further diagnostic tests at the health center also revealed the root cause of Exodus’ sickness. His parents had been doing everything right, but there was more going on inside his tiny body than they could know. He was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia.
Sickle cell anemia is a genetic condition that affects red blood cells. Infants with this condition will often be less active, are prone to infections, and tend to be underweight. In Exodus’ case, the first order of treatment was getting him eating and up to a healthy weight.
“The program helped my son so much, and I am so thankful,” Gloria says. “Exodus loved it, and now his appetite is so good.”
Today, Exodus is growing and thriving. He still deals with occasional flare-ups caused by his anemia, but thanks to the health center’s diagnosis, his family is prepared and knows how to mitigate them.
Stories like Exodus’ illustrate why your donations to Feed the Children are so important. Children like Exodus need food in the short-term but may also require additional medical treatment later. Thanks to friends like you, those resources are available to him, and the parents of other sick children can take comfort in knowing that care is there for them, too.
Your contributions are about more than just food – in communities around the world like Gulu City, your support also provides agricultural and other training programs that help families earn additional income. When you give to Feed the Children, you give school supplies and access to education so children can have more opportunities for a better life. And other programs you support—that expand access to clean water, sanitation and nutrition—help keep them strong and healthy.
Together, we can help build the future, one child like Exodus at a time.