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2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon – Operation ASHA Fundraiser

Let’s do it again!

Kevin with the 2012 finisher's medal

Kevin with the 2012 finisher's medal

$5000 saves 100 children

Kevin Desharnais, Chair of OpASHA’s U.S. Board, after completing the 2012 North Shore Half Marathon, the first time he ever ran 13.1 miles. Only another 13.1 miles to go!

Kevin Desharnais, Chair of Operation ASHA’s U.S. Board, after completing the 2012 North Shore Half Marathon, the first time he ever ran 13.1 miles. Only another 13.1 miles to go!

Once again, I am running the Bank of America’s Chicago Marathon on October 13th to support Operation ASHA’s efforts to end TB among children. Last year we succeeded in raising enough funds to save the lives of 100 children.  For all those who contributed, we offer a heart-felt thank you.  And to everyone we say, this year, let’s do it again!

Operation ASHA is working long and hard to treat tuberculosis among the poor and underprivileged, those Mother Teresa called the poorest of the poor. While TB is a lethal and highly contagious disease, it is a treatable disease, yet each year there are 2 million new cases of TB and half a million deaths in India alone. 300,000 children are forced to leave school because of TB. Operation ASHA has taken on the challenge of fighting this disease, growing from one treatment center in 2006 to 256 treatment centers today, serving over 2,053 slums and villages in eight Indian states and two provinces and 5 operational districts in Cambodia, with more on the way.  Operation ASHA has also successfully worked with a local NGO in Uganda to successfully replicate Operation ASHA’s treatment model, successfully expanding the model to Africa.  This fundraiser will support Operation ASHA’s efforts to fight TB among children. Our goal is to once again raise $5,000, and save 100 lives.

These girls were prevented from attending school by TB, but through treatment at an OpASHA center were able to return to school and continue their education.

These girls were prevented from attending school by TB, but through treatment at an Operation ASHA center were able to return to school and continue their education.

Every $50 raised will treat one child and save a life.

Since last year, Operation ASHA has continued to achieve great success in fighting TB. After visiting one of Operation ASHA’s TB treatment centers in 2012, Onno Ruhl, the Country Director of the World Bank for India stated that he “was fascinated: If Operation ASHA’s model could be rolled out everywhere where there is TB, we could stop multi-drug-resistant TB and save so many lives! “

“What Operation ASHA does is literally to deliver the elusive “last mile” in service delivery. The mile that lies in between well-intended government programs and results on the ground. And they do it with relentless focus and incredible efficiency. What if we could develop Operations ASHA for other problems as well? 90% efficiency and 19 times cheaper? It would be incredible!”

For those of you who don’t know, ASHA means hope. Hope for millions of TB patients. But to me it can be even more: hope for millions of others who need services, all over the world. Our last miles must become cheaper and more efficient. ASHA’s results in applying the science of delivery give rise to real hope that this can happen.”

Mr. Ruhl included these comments in his blog with the title “The Last Mile, at Last?” as part of the series “End Poverty in South Asia” on the World Bank’s website. To read the full blog, click here: http://blogs.worldbank.org/endpovertyinsouthasia/last-mile-last

The idea of the “Last Mile” has special resonance in the context of a marathon. The goal is not achieved until the last mile is run, and often that last mile is the toughest of all.  Good intentions are not enough; there must be effective action if success is to be achieved.

Soon after Mr. Ruhl’s comments, Operation ASHA went on to win the Development Innovation Award from the World Bank. Operation ASHA’s was also recognized by the Wall Street Journal, winning the 2012 Technology Innovation Award for healthcare for its innovative eCompliance system, which harnesses technology to track and ensure patient compliance with treatment protocols. The Rockefeller Foundation also selected Operation ASHA as a finalist for the “Next Century Innovators Award, and Operation ASHA was named as one of the Top 100 NGOs in the world in 2013 by the Global Journal.  This international recognition of such a small organization is a true testament to Operation ASHA  not only having good intentions, but achieving on the ground, real-world results. Operation ASHA’s success in delivering treatment directly to the communities that so desperately need it makes Operation ASHA a truly special organization. These results are possible only because of the generous support of donors like you.

Kevin at the finish line of the 2012 Bank of Chicago Marathon.

Last year’s Bank of Chicago Marathon was truly an amazing experience for me. I now understand what experienced runners mean when they say “the race begins at 20 miles.”  The journey was filled with many challenges along the way (including a highly unexpected bee sting!), and at times seem to be never-ending, but the feeling of crossing the finish line was one of true exhilaration that made it all worthwhile.

Under the tireless guidance of Dr. Shelly Batra and Sandeep Ahuja, Operation ASHA continues to achieve great success in fighting TB, working towards its ultimate goal of a world free of TB. Their perseverance and dedication are a tremendous inspiration, and sharing in Operation ASHA’s success makes all the effort worthwhile.

Because of the living conditions in the slum areas and the highly contagious nature of TB, these children are at great risk.

Please join me in supporting Operation ASHA’s exceptional work. Every $50 raised will treat one child and save a life. Please donate now! Your contribution will have a direct, real-world impact. Please remember to ask your employer if they have a matching gift program.

Warmest regards,
Kevin

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DatePosted by admin , October 5th, 2013 0 Responses Continue Reading »