Published July 2020
One of the countries that stood out in the actions carried out by the Solidary Plane is Ecuador. It started from the opportunity to transport people in urgent health need situations, both inside and outside the country, and it went even further due to the construction of an alliance to build a hospital that promises to help many Ecuadorian children.
During the current worldwide emergency, the Solidary Plane in Ecuador has transported health professionals, as well as a large number of medical supplies and protection equipment, medicines, and COVID-19 detection samples from remote places, such as the Galapagos Islands, for example. “Our Enchanted Islands, as they say in Ecuador. Far away from the continent, the easiest way to get there is through air transport so that we could transport medical supplies for its residents. Especially important were the blood units because there were critically ill patients who needed an urgent transfusion”, said Emilia Rivadeneira, Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability LATAM Ecuador.
A major alliance of the Solidary Plane and a source of pride for us all is the work carried out in association with SOLCA - Society to Fight Cancer - in a beautiful project to build the first Onco-Pediatric Hospital of Ecuador, HOPE. “The alliance gives us the possibility of building a space for child care in Guayaquil, which will be very positive because it will greatly increase the capacity that the SOLCA Hospital currently has to assist children throughout the country,” said Rivadeneira. “Childhood cancer in Ecuador has a huge impact because it increases by around 5% annually, and it leaves many children without assistance due to different reasons, including, of course, lack of beds. The Hospital will help reduce this need of assistance,” she concludes.
Due to the relationship with SOLCA, we started an alliance that will result in the construction of HOPE, the first Onco-Pediatric Hospital in Ecuador. Its actions will include transporting children inside and outside Ecuador to receive assistance, as well as bringing medical specialists to accomplish this great work. The HOPE project is sponsored by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, USA, from where LATAM will be able to transport medical trainers and equipment.
“There are many dimensions here, and the project is something that gives us great hope because these are lives that we are helping to assist. We aim at finding the solution for children and parents and also at supporting them so that these little ones can live a normal life, get an education, and graduate because this is all part of the project”, says Emilia.
Before the pandemic, the alliance had an expected duration of 3 years until the construction of the Hospital, but now it should last until the full objective is achieved. The foundation stone will be laid in 2021. “We got used to this well-known dynamic: cancer never stops, and neither do we,” concludes Emilia.
Little Amelia’s case occurred before the pandemic, and she was a cancer patient. She had always dreamed of getting to know the Sierra and interacting with animals. During her treatment, she commented on her desire to work with animals in her professional future.
The Solidary Plane team had the opportunity to take her to Quito with her mother at a very special moment for her, in October 2019, which allowed her to visit the Quito Zoo. “She told our team that she had felt like an actress because she received so much attention from the people who accompanied her,” recalls Emilia.
Another very relevant case was Paulo’s, one of the HOPE children, who urgently needed a bone marrow transplant in Spain. Just as we were confirming the tickets, we learned that the borders had been closed. “We had to suspend all operations, and Paulo was unable to travel. Even so, there were special flights in the pandemic emergency, and we managed to take him to Spain in one of them, along with his parents and brother. Then, he could finally get the bone marrow operation that he urgently needed,” said Emilia. “This case is extraordinary because, even in a critical situation, we were able to help and contribute to Paulito’s life, an 8-year-old boy who is finally receiving his treatment,” she said.
“We are currently organizing the operation flows again. We hope to see all the activities going back to normal in Ecuador soon, which implies returning to the construction of the Hospital and the regular transportation flow”. Despite the changes in the world, the Solidary Plane continues carrying out its mission.