Helping People Everywhere 

PDG Lesley Barmania shares a story that was published in the  January 2017 issue of The Rotarian :
My husband and I attended the 2016 Rotary International Convention in Seoul and had booked a tour to Vietnam for a week afterward. Early on the morning we were to fly to Hanoi, my husband, Aziz, woke me to tell me that something was very wrong. I immediately called an ambulance, which took us to a nearby hospital. 
After preliminary tests in the emergency ward, Aziz was transferred to the intensive care unit for internal bleeding; however, the cause of the bleeding had still not been identified. 
A CT scan found an arterial bleed from a burst diverticulum in Aziz's small intestine - a rare and serious situation. They needed to operate immediately to stop the bleeding, but that's when the specialist told me how rare Aziz's blood (A-negative) was in that of the world. The staff at our hotel sprang into action. knocking on room doors to find anyone who might have the same blood type. They found an Ontario Rotarian, Tony Telford, who agreed to be a donor. As they were wheeling Aziz to the operating room, Tony arrived yelling, "Don't worry, buddy!" There was hope! I don't think there was a dry eye present! The words "thank you" seem so shallow given the enormity of the impact. Tony insisted he had done nothing, but I told him that he was wrong, that he had given us hope.
I contacted my Rotarian friends, and immediate responses put me in touch with another Rotarian who helped locate three more pints of blood and generate an emergency blood drive. Aziz received a total of 7 pints of blood. The day Aziz was released from the hospital, the Metro Hotel hosted a celebration. They cooked Aziz special beef and seaweed soup to help build his energy and served cake. We never did get to Vietnam; instead, we stayed in Seoul for about four weeks until Aziz was well enough to travel back to Canada. I can't say enough positive things about the medical team in Korea, the Metro Hotel staff, and those amazing Rotarians who gave of themselves to help us. The unconditional kindness, love, and support shown us will stay with us always. This experience has restored our faith in humankind. We are in fact one family divided only on paper by national borders. 


Submitted by Lesley Barmania  

District Rotary Foundation Chair