Doctor, Facebook Give Hope To Sick Ethiopian Teen
16-Year-Old Needs Kidney Transplant
Last Updated: 1017 days ago
Ethiopian teen Weini Haile, 16, came to Aurora a year and a half ago seeking life-saving kidney therapy. Recently, her condition worsened and she started dialysis. In her home-country she was out of options, and nearly out of time."The doctors in Ethiopia said, 'there is nothing we can do, her kidneys have failed and unless she leaves the country and goes to Europe or the United States, or somewhere else, there is nothing else we can do," said Millete Birhanemaskel, Haile's cousin.With family in the Denver area, Haile needed a physician to agree to care for her in order to receive a medical visa. They contacted Dr. Paul Sakiewicz, a stranger to the family."When I looked at the situation, I can help, and I can offer something," Sakiewicz said. "I just can't walk away from that."Sakiewicz convinced the Medical Center of Aurora and numerous other doctors and departments to provide charity care for Haile."She's definitely alive because he wrote a letter and took a responsibility, and is still fighting to save her life," Birhanemaskel said.Haile told her cousin that her English was not sufficient to be able to express her gratitude for what Sakiewicz has done, and added, "Yeah, Dr Sakiewicz did a lot of things [for] me and I really appreciate him," Haile said.Sakiewicz said Haile's kidneys are now functioning at just 6 percent, which means she'll need a transplant. And like most teenagers, she uses the social media site, Facebook, where she made a plea for help. Her post reads: "Hey everyone, as many of you already know, I'm in search of someone whose blood type matches mine, who's willing to give me a kidney."And surprisingly, a single mother from San Diego responded, indicating that she had the same blood type, O negative, and would be willing to donate a kidney if she was a match."Yeah, I was excited," Haile said."When something like this happens, it just kind of restores that sense of being an American, and just always giving and caring about someone," Birhanemaskel said.Haile and her family are racing the clock to get a kidney transplant, because her medical visa expires in just six months.To help raise money for Haile's medical care, Compass Bank is pledging $75 for every person who opens a new account at the Cherry Creek branch, located at 101 Garfield St., in Denver. When applying, mention Weini Haile or Ethiopian kidney benefit. If 250 accounts are opened to benefit Haile, Compass Bank will donate an additional $10,000 as part of its Compass For Your Cause program.