We've got big plans at LKN!
Stage 1, create accessible evidence-based educational material for enhanced lymphoedema self-care in resource poor settings .
Stage 2, add accessible online training programs for local Health Department and NGO staff working in neglected tropical populations.
Stage 3, connect experienced therapists with people in even the remotest regions of LF and podoconiosis endemic countries.
Stage 1 is well underway, and when Adrian Lim wrote to us about a young woman in Manila we realised we had an opportunity get started on Stage 3 as well.
The young woman had been hospitalised for an infection and then sent back to her remote village with no education on how to manage her lymphoedema.
She'll be faced with a lifetime of stigma and social exclusion, not to mention repeated infections if she is not educated in how to look after her leg and foot.
We decided to support Adrian to complete his training as a lymphoedema therapist so he can participate in case management and education. In collaboration with the training program and course organiser we were able to offer a Full Scholarship, with LKN covering his travel and accommodation costs.
At the time we didn't have enough funds in hand for our contribution, until one of our Founding Members Dr Patricia Graves stepped up with a substantial donation from her late Mother's estate.
Here is Joan's story and why Tricia feels that a donation to LKN earmarked for work in the Philippines was such a fitting memorial to her Mum.
Joan Lawler was a creative, artistic and generous person, who made friends easily and lived a varied life, including traveling and living in Asia and other countries for extended periods. She returned to her native Canada in 2003 and lived in Toronto for the last 24 years of her life.
As her health declined, Joan started to need full time help with daily living activities, and at first my sister Suzanne was able to manage her care.
But in 2013 Joan moved to a large house with live-in Filipina caretakers who looked after her 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Some of the caregivers were with Mum for many years, cooking and cleaning, and nursing her when she was sick. Most importantly they provided companionship and love.
The first ones were Lilibeth and Zeny, then Sean and Luchel, followed by Runa and Angel (Lillibeth’s daughter) who joined her direct from the Philippines.
Many others filled in during holidays and periods of hospitalization or high need. They enabled her to stay in her own home until she died peacefully in August 2018.
Runa, Angel and Zeny were there at the end of Joan’s life, never leaving her side day or night, and engaging her in activities and outings whenever possible.
Although the last part of Joan's life was terribly challenging for her and those around her, she was so lucky to have been surrounded by the incredible selflessness, patience, love and care of an extended Filipino family when she most needed it.
I could not think of a better way to honour her legacy than by donating some of the inheritance she left to support the training of other health workers and, through them, offer hope to disabled or suffering people in the Philippines.
Adrian completed his training in Perth during Lymphoedema Awareness Week this year, and received his Certificate in Combined Decongestive Therapy from Koby Blanchfield
In an unexpected bonus he was also given money by family and friends and very generously donated his airfares back to the LKN Foundation.
We've earmarked this money for equipment and other expenses when Adrian travels out to the regions to assist people suffering the debilitating effects of filariasis-related lymphoedema in the Philippines.
Read more about Adrian's persistence and dedication to getting trained here.