shoe4africa - make the difference!

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During my medical education, I was fortunate enough to spend a month in Tanzania. Those four weeks were eye-opening and life-changing in countless ways. African physicians (as well as the African people in general) are amazingly skilled at accomplishing a goal or reaching a diagnosis with very few resources, which is inspiring to see. On the other hand, as a Westerner, it’s terribly humbling to stand in the middle of a muddy marketplace — amid dozens of women sitting on the ground, all selling the same tomatoes, bananas, and avocados — knowing that you can buy a week’s worth of produce for about two American dollars… and that those two dollars will have a dramatic impact on the family of whichever individual from whom you elect to buy. How in the world do you choose?

I initially picked Shoe4Africa as my charity partner for the NYC Half because, when I saw the title, I recalled seeing hundreds of Tanzanians walking around in shoes made from pieces of old tires. However, after reading more about the organization, I realized shoes were only the beginning; Shoe4Africa has also built four accredited schools (with plans in process for three more), and — an accomplishment that hits close to home for me — they’ve also funded and built an entire children’s hospital (only the second dedicated children’s hospital on the entire African continent!). They also have plans currently in the works for a dedicated children’s cancer hospital, which is expected to have a tremendous impact on cancer statistics in Africa (currently, ~90% of African children with cancer die from their disease — in stark contrast to the USA, where more than 80% survive).

These amazing accomplishments speak to the tremendous impact we’re able to have when we donate from the States, as a group, via a reputable organization — versus standing in the marketplace, being forced to arbitrarily select one individual to benefit. I’m proud to be representing Shoe4Africa in the 2017 NYC Half Marathon, and can’t wait to see what they do next!