Willing and Abel Newsletter - August 2013
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Dear Willing and Abel Friends,

Earlier this year I spent some time working at a hospital for refugees in South Sudan. There the UN was seeking to provide shelter, water and nutrition for 200,000 refugees, with a motto that 'one refugee without hope is too many.' It re-affirmed to me the value of the work of Willing and Abel to address the needs of the child in front of us (albeit complex) and as we go forward we seek to continue to do so with passion and energy. 'Every child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.' -Pablo Casals

And so, it is with thanks and excitement that we recount some of the successes of the past year, some of our ongoing cases and our hopes for the future. Thank you so much for all your support over the last year, without it we wouldn’t have been able to help some of the children you’ll read about below.

Dr. Abi Estelle
Founder of Willing and Abel
W&A New Trustees - Graeme, Benita and Jenny

Recent developments at W&A


New Trustees

We have brought three new trustees on board including a new Chairman. Graeme Muir has taken over as Chairman from Nick Gunne who is now concentrating on fundraising and the aftercare of children. Graeme retired early as a solicitor to do charitable work. Benita Morrissey is a paediatric doctor working in North-East London and has been involved with W&A for sometime including taking part in The Nuts Challenge to raise funds for us. Jenny Pollard is going to work with Nick (her father) on personal fundraising and will also assist with some of the admin. We are excited about the talents and skills these new trustees bring to Willing and Abel.

Medical board

We have established a Medical Board to work with Abi and Benita in reviewing potential cases for surgery since many of the operations are extremely complex. The 
Board is made up of medical specialists who have vast experience in the areas our children need help. The Board will make recommendations to the W&A Trustees as to how a child can be helped.

Solar Project Update

Bo Hospital finished solar panel arrayOne of the exciting projects we have been involved in over the last year has been based in Bo, Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world, with some of the worst child health statistics and a very poor electricity supply outside Freetown. We piloted an innovative project with a local NGO Energy for Opportunity to put solar panels into the paediatric wards at the main government hospital to provide energy for lighting and life-saving oxygen for sick children. This was done with a generous grant from Vodafone (Graham Maher Award), as well as Goldman-Sachs, The Acrefield Group, and many individual donors. A massive thanks to the nine people who did the Nuts Challenge on a very cold March day, and braved over 60 obstacles including running through icy streams to raise over £4000 for the project. The solar panels are working well and helping to save children’s lives.
Willing and Abel - Fundraiser Needed - Can you help?

Can you help us?

Thank you for supporting us and the W&A children so far. It has been a great journey but we want to help many more children to have life enhancing surgery. To do this, can we ask you to:
  • Suggest someone who could develop a corporate fund-raising strategy or run a fund-raising event for us or make an application to grant-making trusts.
  • Could you do a fund-raising or sponsored event for us in 2013-14? We can provide T-shirts, support setting up a fund-raising page, and may be able to support you on the day
  • Look for opportunities to spread the word about W&A and the children who need our assistance – we can provide a speaker or a PowerPoint presentation.
For further information please visit the Willing and Abel website, or contact us via Facebook or email.

A few of the recent 'Willing and Abel children'

The Junior Story

Thanks to Sandra Lako alerting us to his plight and Sophia Lyons running the Edinburgh Festival 10K Junior can now lead a normal life in his community.
Junior before operation - April 2013Junior with Sandra Lako after operation - June 2013Junior after operation - June 2013
Junior was born on 26th November 2012 in Sierra Leone with a cleft lip and palate. He was referred to W&A by Sandra Lako and had successful surgery on the Mercy Ship in Guinea in May 2013.

The pictures above show Junior before his operation in April 2013 (left), and after surgery (right) with Sandra Lako (centre), a long-time W&A friend with a long history of medical volunteering work in Sierra Leone.
Sophia Lyons (left) at Edinburgh Marathon Festival (2013)On 25th May 2013, Sophia Lyons took on a 10k challenge to raise support for Junior’s cleft lip surgery and she managed to raise nearly £300 through the event!  Sophia’s comments on the experience:

“I started running at the end of January for the first time, and decided to challenge myself at sign up for the 10k. I wanted to use it as a chance to raise money for a cause that I know is so worthy of our attention and support. Hearing about Benita’s (Benita Morrissey, Willing and Abel Trustee) experiences in Sierra Leone inspired me and opened my eyes. I was glad to be able to help in a very small way by asking people to sponsor me. I realise that every little bit really helps and was delighted to be able to help specifically with supporting this little boy, Junior, to help fund his transport to the Mercy Ships for cleft lip surgery.”
Junior’s case is a good example of how Willing and Abel likes to work:
  • The vast majority of benefactors’ stories start at a very personal level.
  • Referrals are usually made by people already known to us and from partners already established in the child’s home community.  Each case is discussed by our Medical Board, run by Abi and Benita, who both have experience of such communities and an extensive network of medical personnel to seek advice from and refer beneficiaries to.
  • All of this is a huge advantage as we know that the money we raise reaches the child and is spent only on relevant things e.g. exploratory work, transport to appointments and surgery, medical procedures and aftercare.
From this you can see that you can have full confidence that over 99% of the money you entrust to us is used solely for the children’s needs. In the Financial Year 2011-2012 only £344 was spent on admin out of a total expenditure of £50395 = 0.07%!

The Gwadam Kwataday Story

Thanks to your donations, this beautiful young girl, Gwadam, can now lead a normal life in her community.
Gwadam before operation - January 2012Gwadam a year after surgery - May 2013Gwadam with family - May 2013
Gwadam (born 2000) is from a rural village in Northern Cameroon. In fact, it is so remote that it wasn’t until she was 11 years old that she come across a westerner able to inform her and her family that surgery was a possibility to correct her cleft lip! She was referred to W&A in November 2011 and her cleft lip was successfully repaired in 2012. Now, well over a year after the operation, she is happy and healthy and has a beautiful smile to share.

The pictures above show Gwadam in January 2012 before her operation (left), after surgery (centre) with friends (right) in 2012.

Ama from Ghana

Ama before her second operation - June 2013Ama after her second operation - June 2013
Ama, 12, finally had her second surgery a few weeks ago! She has tumours of both jaws. She initially had surgery on one jaw, which was done over a year ago with the help of W&A. The second surgery was supposed to be done before Christmas 2012, but for various reasons (she has a rare blood group, for one) it kept getting delayed. Now both tumours have been debulked, and we are expecting to hear good news of a speedy recovery.

The pictures above show Ama enjoying some sun before her second operation in June 2013 (left), and enjoying a book after the surgery (right).

We need funds to pay for some of Ama’s treatment so please think about how you can support her.

Lester from the Philippines – Fundraising Opportunity

Lester from the PhilippinesWould you help us fix 7-year-old Lester's hands?
Lester was born in the Philippines in 2006.  He has excessive growth in some of his fingers which makes normal life very difficult for him.  Willing and Abel is presently working with a team of congenital hand specialists in the UK to assess Lester’s condition, with a view of working out how best to assist him. 

We have organised one specialist to visit the Philippines this Summer to see Lester, his family and support network.  He will also review the medical facilities and expertise available in Manila.

As is W&A’s standard practice, we want to fully explore the possibilities of doing surgery locally. Apart from the financial and psychological benefits of this for Lester, we also want to invest in and build the capacity of local medical teams by providing opportunities for them to gain expertise in procedures they would not normally do locally, so as to help more children in the future.

If you are able to help with fundraising for Lester’s operation, please email Nick Gunne at

Fundraising – ideas from Deal in Kent

There are lots of ways that you can make a difference and raise some vital funds for Willing and Abel in your local area. Here are some ideas...
  1. You could get involved in a local fun run or marathon where you can nominate the charity you raise the money for.
  2. You could hold a coffee morning and sell cakes and run a raffle (local businesses often like to get involved by donating a prize and in return you would be advertising for them).
  3. You could see if a local school or pre-school would be willing to get involved by running a sponsored event or even just an 'own clothes day' where children can have a non uniform day by paying £1.
  4. You could do a Car Wash.
  5. You could do a sponsored event, like picking up litter or a walk.
One idea we are trying in Deal, Kent is to fundraise using the local surgery that Abi’s family was involved with, where one of the doctors who is a keen photographer wants to offer for donations some amazing prints of local scenes that are posted in the surgery. The whole practice wants to get behind this effort and we are hoping to make a splash in the local paper to publicise it.

Another function we are planning is a Charity Auction in Sevenoaks, Kent. We are using the local Rugby Club, having a band, food, a bar and an auction. Lots of people have donated items to auction, for example a week in a holiday home in France, a 3 course meal for 8 people served in your own home, 4 celebration cakes to be made throughout a year for birthdays etc and also smaller things like a haircut, babysitting for an evening, ironing and cleaning. We will be making money on not only the auction but also on selling tickets for the event. If you have something that you could donate to the auction we would love to hear from you!

Organising an event or fundraiser does not have to be something big or time consuming. Whatever you can do will help and you might even find you have fun doing it!

Copyright © 2013 Willing and Abel, All rights reserved.

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