In the months leading up to our 2019 Gala, we’ll feature stories showcasing how MATTER and our partners are finding solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing our world today. For the next several weeks, we’ll focus on the challenge that half the world’s population is unable to access essential health services. This week’s blog was written by MATTER’s Medical Program Director, Joel Anderson.
What do two NBA players, a wireless distributor in Arizona, and a hospital group in Minnesota have in common? They’ve all recently partnered with MATTER to help increase access to health for people living in Haiti, Guyana, Senegal and The Democratic Republic of Congo!
This past winter, when MATTER was informed of 200 pallets of usable IV fluid that was available for donation, we jumped at the opportunity to procure this life-saving fluid. MATTER personnel, including myself, made several trips to Arizona to secure the massive amount of fluid, which would have been discarded had we not taken it. In the end, it took six 53-foot semi trailers to haul the fluid off site! In all, we had over 200,000 pounds of the valuable fluid for hospitals and clinics around the world.
While we were busy finding international partners that could take the fluid, we were also scrambling to find a place to store it. Storing six semi-trailers of anything is not easy, and we were running out of options and time. With the temperatures in Arizona beginning to soar, the situation became urgent. That’s when QDI Wireless in Phoenix stepped up and opened their warehouse to store the fluid and also allow us to load it onto shipping containers a few weeks later. Allowing MATTER to use their warehouse for storage and loading was a lifesaver. Literally. Without them, this project may not have happened.
So why did QDI Wireless, one of the country’s largest distributors of wireless, wire line products and services, agree to open their busy warehouse to help this project move forward?
QDI is a company that respects and admires those individuals and organizations that are dedicated to the mission of improving the world we live in by lifting up communities with less access to resources and education. The work that you are doing is important for so many people and the impact that it has on the health of so many people is immeasurable. – Carrie DeRose, Director of Marketing, QDI Wireless
Because of the generosity of QDI Wireless, the 200,000 pounds of IV fluid is now helping save lives in Haiti, Guyana and Senegal, thanks to the efforts of two of our international partners, Food for the Poor and The Gorgui Dieng Foundation.
The Gorgui Dieng Foundation is working to improve the lives of people in Senegal, the home country of Minnesota Timberwolves player, Gorgui Dieng. Gorgui is not the only NBA player MATTER partners with. We also have the privilege of partnering with Bismack Biyombo of the Charlotte Hornets. Like Gorgui, Bismack also gives back to his home country of Congo through his foundation.
With a container for Congo scheduled to be loaded this week, we reached out to one of our hospital partners, Allina Health, to see if they’d like to be our first hospital partner to help us load a container. One of their business departments was eager to assist MATTER in cleaning the donated equipment, sorting through the donated supplies and then loading the huge shipping container.
The container is headed for East Congo, where the people face dire health situations including outbreaks of Ebola. In addition to the general medical equipment and supplies, the container also included hundreds of personal protection gear for medical staff to protect themselves against Ebola and other infectious diseases.
Despite the hard work, the Allina employees could not have been more upbeat and positive. Lisa Olson, Director of IS Revenue Cycle, explained why,
“Allina’s mission is to save lives. I walked in here today and it caught me by surprise how emotional I felt. Allina not only saves lives within the bricks and mortar of our building, but through our partnership with MATTER, we’re saving lives across the world too. We’re so humbled to be here to help.”
The impact of collaboration cannot be overstated. MATTER is able to take advantage of life-saving opportunities because we don’t go it alone. In the case of the IV fluid, thousands of people today are benefiting from a medical donor who donated the fluid, a corporate partner who allowed the use of their warehouse for storing and loading, and international partners who got the fluid into hospitals that need it.
As we like to say, you don’t have to be a charity to change the world. But you can’t do it alone. If you or your company would like to partner with MATTER and join us in bringing health and hope to people next door and around the world, please contact us!