Immediate Needs for Ecuadorian with Spinal Injury

Immediate Needs for Ecuadorian with Spinal Injury

From Tami Lentz

Please join me in raising funds to support Cristian, a young 24-year-old Dad from the indigenous Chachi community of Guayacana near Quinindé, Esmeraldas, Ecuador, who suffered a spinal injury and needs life-saving care.

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Hello, 

Please join me in raising funds to support Christian Quiñónez Tambonero, a young 24-year-old Dad from the indigenous Chachi community of Guayacana near Quinindé, Esmeraldas, Ecuador.  Christian tragically fractured his spinal column and spinal cord in a motorcycle accident, when he was thrown from the bike when it underwent engine failure on the highway.  The full impact of his spinal cord injury is unknown, but he appears to have lost sensation in his legs, is leaking spinal fluid, and urgent care is needed to be seen by specialists and to receive surgery ASAP.   

 Who am I? 

 My name is Tami Lentz, and 20 years ago I had the chance to live in the community of Guayacana, Esmeraldas, Ecuador, part of the Chachi nation of Ecuador, an experience that changed my life in every possible way, and where I later met my husband, Gary. The first people to welcome me into the community were Marcela and Lucardo, schoolteachers in the community, and their young sons.   I had the chance to live in their home while they taught me about their culture, along with Spanish and the Cha'palaa languages, and they became like family to me.  Cristian was just a preschooler when I met him and was like a little brother to me.   

 What will funds be used for? 

All funds will be used to support Cristian and his transportation and medical costs, and travel expenses for family members who accompany him.  He needs transport to a larger hospital in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, or Quito, that have a trauma unit with neurosurgeons who can provide immediate surgery.    There are currently no beds available in the public hospital in Quito; and even if space opens up, funds are still needed as many medical services are still pay-for-service.  If funds can be raised, he will be seen by a private facility where he can receive medical attention immediately.  Cuba Medical Center in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, will see him if he can provide at least $5,000 upfront for surgery.  Daily hospital costs may run up to $1,000/day.  Any additional funds raised will be provided for his long-term care and/or support for his wife and daughter.   

How will funds be received? 

Funds raised immediately will be sent directly to Mariela & Lucardo for urgent care needs.

Beginning next week, we will be working with the Raiz Foundation, Inc, to facilitate the transfer of funds to Ecuador. The Ecuadorian Community of Seattle partnered together with the Seattle International Foundation, Fundación CIMAS, and Fundación Raíz/CAEMBA,  along with the Bilingual Intercultural School System of the Chachi community, to rebuild homes for victims of the Ecuadorian Earthquake of 2016 for people who had become homeless.  This partnership oversaw the construction of 13 houses and a school for children in the Chachi community of Muisne/Chamango in 2016, and one additional home in Tonsupa, Ecuador in 2019.  Due to this partnership, Fundación Raíz has continued to work with members of the Chachi community to provide meals during the crisis this year.

Fundación Raíz has now graciously offered to work directly with hospitals to facilitate the transfer of funds to medical clinics.  Any other funds will be provided to the Quiñónez Tambonero family to cover additional costs and needs. This partnership has proceeded and been approved by Mariela Tambonero, Cristian's mother.  

More information about Raiz Foundation Inc.: Fundación Raíz is a US-based non-profit entity created to support work in Latin America associated with: Providing cost-effective, practical approaches to alleviate humanitarian crises caused by natural disasters; Supporting indigenous peoples seeking to protect and reclaim ancestral territories; Providing indigenous communities with education respectful of native culture; Supporting conservation and sustainable use of fragile ecosystems; Reducing poverty in marginalized communities.

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