Thanks to Rye resident Sue O'Brien for sending in this human interest story:
Rye children will compete in the Jarden Westchester Kids and Olympic Triathlon Races on September 28th and 29th to raise funds and awareness for the Global Medical Relief Fund (GMRF). The GMRF, founded by Elissa Montati, is dedicated to helping children overcome physical setbacks caused by war or natural disasters. Although hospitals and doctors provide pro bono medical care, the GMRF coordinates all medical treatment and covers the cost of travel expenses for children coming from their home countries to the U.S., and living expenses during treatment.
A Personal Connection – How the Rye children became involved:
The GMRF kids and Rye kids met almost four years ago at a church carnival (Resurrection) to generate much-needed financial support for GMRF. When GMRF kids Waad (Iraq — playing kick the can there was a bomb in the can and his face was severely affected, he lost one arm and one leg), Achmed (Iraq — victim of war — bomb went off made him blind and lost one arm — he will be there at the end of the race), Sarah (Haiti — victim of Haiti earthquake, lost her mother) & Ngawang (story below), needed a temporary home during treatment,they often found it with a Rye family. Because of the relationships fostered over time, the Rye kids are committed to helping finance the annual follow-up treatments for their GMRF friends. They are also looking forward to meeting and helping 17 children who are on the waiting list to receive assistance from GMRF.
The GMRF kids’ remarkable resilience in the face of emotional and physical devastation is inspiring. It is this inspiration that the Rye kids will draw on as they compete next weekend, but watch for Negwaan’s relay. Negwaan (16) is a double amputee who lost both arms when he was electrocuted in India. Dillon Kelly (17) will swim one mile, Pat Curran (16) will bike 25 miles, and Negwaan, accompanied by Jack O'Brien (17), will run the last six miles of the JWT Olympic Triathlon.
More on Ngawang:
Ngawang Tsetan , Is a 16 year old Tibetan boy. He has lived his whole life in a Tibetan refugee camp. At age 14 whileplaying one day outside the camp, he noticed a kite tangled high in the trees. He had never flown a kite before. Ngawang found an aluminum pole nearby where he lived. He began to reach up into the trees when he hit a live wire.
Next ,he woke up on the ground 10 minutes later not being able to see or hear. His cousin had put out the fire that was burning his arms and chest. Ngawang had been electrocuted. His sight and hearing came back but he was badly burned. Severely bleeding, he traveled eight hours to a hospital. It was there that they amputated his both arms. Ngawang's school director had learned about GMRF, from a segment CBS 60 minutes had done. GMRF is a charity started and run by Elissa Montanti, (cousin of local Rye resident, Maria Curran) Her mission is to help children who have lost limbs from war and natural disasters. The school director contacted Elissa and asked for help. Since he's here he has since had three surgeries , intense rehab and was recently given two new electric arms . All of this was coordinated through GMRF. Ngawang's treatment has been extensive. He is living in the GMRF on Staten Island, with several other children who are currently undergoing treatment for lost limbs. This organization helps children worldwide.
Other GMRF Kids coming to event to cheer Ngawang and team members on:
- Ahmed – 16 years old from Iraq. Missing his sight and arm from a bomb
- Saajad Shakir -11 years old from Iraq. severely burned and missing leg
- from car bomb
- Benedict Quyale – 12 from Lyberia. missing leg – war related
Rye residents who are participating in triathlon to raise money for
- Ellie Kelly – individual
- Maria Curran- individual
- Tom Ott – individual
- Kirstin Bucci – individual
- Shelly Wolfson – individual
- Ted Tutun – relay
- Jeff O'Brien – relay
- Jake Dolce -relay
- Patrick Curran (11th grade)
- Dillon Kelly (12th grade)
- Jack O'Brien (12th grade)
- Jane Curran (9th grade) children's triathlon
- Sharon Doyle (9th grade) children's triathlon
- Audrey Labovitz (6th grade) children's triathlon
- Claire Labovitz (4th grade) children's triathlon
- Reece Wolfson (7th grade) children's triathlon
- Emily Wolfson (9th grade) children's triathlon
Elissa Montanti, Director of GMRF will also be at the triathlon with some of her college summer interns who will be participating in a relay. Sue O'Brien (Rye), Jennifer Griffiths (Rye), and Allison Chader (Rye),
will also be organizing efforts and collecting donations under the tent in the Rye Town Park.
Donations so far:
Some of the Rye participants are independently collecting donations in the form of checks, so the Giveforward site represents approximately half of what we have collected so far. Our goal is $40,000.
If anyone is interested in contributing please visit the GMRF table under the tent during or after the race, or make a donation online. Checks can also be mailed to Sue O'Brien at 349 Park Avenue, Rye, NY 10580.