FAPAG supports children in the Luis Amigo Hospital who are battling infection, malnutrition, and other depleting diseases.
Wellness Advocate Pat Ethier was 16 years old when she learned about the charitable work of a close family friend, Father Armand Gagne. Father Armand is the founder of FAPAG, a humanitarian organization that supports the Luis Amigo Hospital for children in Champerico, Guatemala. It wasn’t until 2006 that Pat got involved with the organization, by sponsoring a child at the hospital. In 2007, Pat took her first of two mission trips to Guatemala to visit the hospital and meet the children.
Today, Pat and her husband sponsor two children at the Luis Amigo Hospital, helping them receive proper health services, and giving them the opportunity to attend school. FAPAG has three supporting teams—two in Quebec and one in Ontario. Without the help of volunteers on these teams, the Luis Amigo hospital would have to close its doors. Along with the Ontario team, Pat works to organize several fundraising efforts to help raise money for the hospital.
Most of the children at the hospital are suffering from malnutrition. Malnourished children are often more likely to suffer from developmental delays, weight loss, and illness, due to a lack of nutrients and calories. Nutrient deficiencies can have a big impact on a child’s immune system, and make them more susceptible to contracting infectious diseases. In places where malnourished children are near other kids or caretakers, they are especially vulnerable to infections. Poor nutritional status can also lead to gastrointestinal infections, which puts children at a greater risk for nutritional deficiencies, because they cannot absorb nutrients properly. When combined with infection, a nutrient deficiency can cause delays in growth.1
Children who have been malnourished need proper health-care to restore nutrients to their bodies, and get to a point where they can gain healthy weight, absorb nutrients, and develop at a normal pace. The mission of FAPAG is to prevent children from dying as a result of malnutrition, and provide support that gives them the opportunity to attend school, in hopes of breaking the poverty cycle that is common in this area of Guatemala.
Pat says, “I am motivated to volunteer because of my dream of ending poverty among these children. I believe that every child on this earth should have three meals a day and the chance to go to school.” To help support the Louis Amigo Hospital, visit the FAPAG website to learn more.