Whats this all about?
Ben Reiter and Emma Doherty were volunteers for 9 months with an international organisation aimed at helping impoverished communities educate their children. One of these environments is found on the outskirts of Arequipa. Peru. Due to the poverty and exceptionally disadvantaged conditions alot of the children lived in, it was normal to experience pupils with many limitations ie physical, mental, financial etc. But in reality, nothing prepared them for Katy’s world.
Katy is a 14 year little girl who has never had a normal life. She has the mental age of a 5 year old and that will never change. Every day she copes with severe cognitive, as well as physical, disadvantages. Her physical disfigurations are so acute that she is unable to speak, eat or breath without experiencing pain. Yet, to meet Katy, she is never without a smile and never complains.
Katy as a pupil
Emma taught Katy at her school and was immediately touched by her motivation to learn. She was relentless in her enthusiasm and tried so hard every day. Endless repetition was key to her learning and her frustrations never surfaced. Due to her disabilities, alot of information was, and potentially never will be, retained. Her physical ailments prevented her from ever developing basic speech skills. Due to these obstacles, many of the children chose to react negatively which only added to her burdens. She is one of the sweetest little girls imaginable and deserves so much more than she could ever know. Knowing Katy has enriched our lives and meeting her could only compel you to sympathise with her plight.
Katy has been diagnosed with a genetical disease known as Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS). This is commonly associated with jaw and facial bone disfiguration, outer ear deformities which inhibit hearing, as well as dental malstructure. Katy is currently dealing with every one of those symptoms. She cannot speak, eat or even breathe without pain. It will take a series of operations, along with longterm physical therapy and speech therapy, to help with Katy’s suffering. But with enough support, it is completely realistic to change Katy’s life forever!
To help with this process we reached out to the Rotary Club in Arequipa. This club is willing to put forth alot of time and effort to ensure that Katy is getting the necessary treatment from credited specialists. We are very grateful to have the support of the Rotary Club Arequipa: without their support it would be much more difficult to get her the help she needs. Ben will also be here for a while longer in Arequipa but we will both be constantly updated on her progress
Katy’s treatment will be extensive and could take years to complete. The Rotary Club will contribute financially, but we still need to raise $15,000 in order to cover all operations, post operation medication, physical therapy, as well as speech therapy. Please look at Katy’s photos and videos to help you appreciate her condition. She was born into this world with so many disadvantages. She lives in one of Peru’s poorest and underdeveloped communities, her father left when he saw her condition and she lives in pain while doing simple tasks that we take for granted everyday. We will never be able to give Katy a perfect life but, with your support, she can learn to speak, breathe and eat without the pain that she has suffered for the past 14 years.
On this page we have included links to further inform you on the details of TCS, as well as our partner in helping Katy ie the Rotary Club.