Janece Moment: Generosity Changes the Story
It takes a special kind of courage to tackle what seems to be an insurmountable problem and it takes uncommon strength to endure an unforgiving hurdle. And, to be able to find it in your heart to care about someone else’s when you’re in the middle of dealing with your own, takes extraordinary compassion. Janece Moment is one of those special, uncommon and compassionate people, making a difference from right where she is -- right now.
I knew I had a broken tooth that needed treating. I hadn’t scheduled a dental appointment because we didn't have the money for the exams, x-rays, and treatment. Along with the other 50 million Americans who don't have health or dental insurance and have fallen on tough times, I self-managed the best I knew how. I avoid sugary foods and drinks. I was diligent with flossing, brushing, and mouth rinses. But that morning, I knew I was in trouble when the small bump on my upper gum doubled in size overnight. That small innocuous bump that hadn't hurt at all was suddenly very large and very painful.
Fear and pain pushed me into action. I called 20 dentists trying to find someone who would help me. I had almost no money to pay for treatment. After 19 phone calls and one in-office visit, I wasn't able to find a single dentist that would help me without a pre-payment of $500-$1000. I didn't have it.
JOHN DAU: LOST BOY TURNED SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR
John Bul Dau, at the age of 12, was forced to flee his home and leave Sudan. After walking thousands of miles and living in refugee camp after refugee camp, an humanitarian organization arrange for him to relocate to the United States.
Now 34, a public-policy student at Syracuse University, John Dau is doing what he can as an activist for Sudan. He has started three non-profit organizations including:
See below to donate to the John Dau Sudan Foundation today.
- The Sudanese Lost Boys Foundation of New York - founded to to help Sudanese youth in Syracuse and throughout the U.S. transition to life in America through educational and counseling programs.
- The American Care for Sudan Foundation (ASCF) - the non-profit that raised the initial funds for building the Duk Lost Boys Clinic in Southern Sudan.
- John Dau Sudan Foundation - committed to developing health facilities that currently do not exist for most of the populations of Duk, Twic East and Bor South Counties in the State of Jonglei in Southern Sudan.
I felt panicky. I couldn’t stop thinking about the horrible story of Deamonte Driver. Deamonte was the 12-year old boy in Washington DC who died last February when the infection from his own tooth abscess spread to his brain. (His hard-working single mom with three jobs had lost Medicaid and didn’t have dental insurance.) I was clear that the situation I was in was scary and could be life-threatening. I kept thinking how stupid it would be to die because of this and how I couldn't let that happen because of my 3-year-old daughter. “I have to be here for her. I have to.”, I kept repeating to myself.
After 4 days of searching, the 21st dentist told me to come in. He took one look at the tooth and said without hesitation, “The tooth must come out today. I'll do it for you for the amount of money you have…” After the surgery, with gauze in my mouth, the dentist quietly described to me how the infection had already punched a hole through my bone.
I can’t describe the feeling of gratitude and relief I had when I left his office that day. Without his generosity, things could have turned out very differently for me.
Two weeks later, infection and pain gone, I sat curled on the couch watching God Grew Tired of Us. It follows the story of a few of the Lost Boys of Sudan who were relocated to the United States. (For more about the Lost Boys, click here.) After watching the documentary, I found myself thinking about my tooth emergency again. What if I lived in Southern Sudan? My tooth abscess was scary and potentially life-threatening here in the United States where there is a greater chance of finding help. If I lived in Sudan, where medical care is nearly non-existent, it would likely have been fatal. And my little girl would be without a mother.
The mental exercise of transplanting myself from the United States to Sudan has deeply affected me. One of my favorite authors, Frederick Buechner, described it before I experienced it:
"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too."
My need for dental care is the same as the need of a 38-year-old Sudanese woman who needs medical or dental treatment. I needed, as she now needs, the compassion and generosity of a stranger. A dentist I did not know was willing to reach out and make a difference for me, and in turn, my family and the rest of my life. Thank you, Dr. Hrankowski.
Now, I’d like to reach out and let you know about an opportunity to do the same for a former Lost Boy, John Bul Dau and his community in Southern Sudan. If you are reading this and can help, if each of us will reach out and touch one person with a donation, no matter how large or small, together we can create thousands of happy endings like mine.
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John Dau is a former Lost Boy now living Syracuse, New York. He is committed to making a difference for his family, friends and fellow Sudanese. Out of that commitment, he began this non-profit foundation to transform healthcare in Southern Sudan. The foundation has already built a fully-functioning health clinic to fight serious health threats to the people there including: malnutrition, malaria, trachoma, guinea worm, HIV/AIDS, cataracts, river blindness and more.
Meet the artist, Janece Moment
Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Janece finds constant creative inspiration. Painting is one of the deepest joys in her life. Color and texture are the landscapes that she lives, moves and breathes in while she paints.
From Janece: "I enjoy working in abstracts because my themes take on new life in with each new viewing. I like my work to be evocative, moving and new, with open possibilities and interpretations."
This emerging Northwest artist's work has been well received. Janece's artwork is currently showcased in Equestria Restaurant and Lounge, a fine dining establishment in Memphis TN, as well as in businesses and personal collections worldwide.
While her focus is currently on commissioned work, you can find some of her pieces available at http://janecemoment.etsy.com. Or, if you would like to contact her directly, email: email@example.com