Once you’ve seen leprosy up close, you never forget that kind of suffering. This disease robs people of their ability to walk and manage day-to-day tasks – but more than that, it robs them of their dignity, self-worth and respect among their peers. These effects are much harder to heal… but we have the power today to bring hope and healing.

By the time I was six years old, I’d seen hundreds of people with leprosy. My parents were Lutheran missionaries in Liberia, West Africa, where I was born. Dad worked in two hospitals and two schools, translating materials into local languages.

As a young child, I often accompanied Dad to the hospitals and witnessed the toll that leprosy took on patients and their families. It wasn’t just the physical deformities, the nerve damage, or the pain. What made everything worse was the social stigma, which still plagues people affected by leprosy today.

I was even a target of that unreasonable fear of leprosy myself. During a six-month visit to Canada when I was about two years old. Doctors checking arrivals from Liberia were afraid I had leprosy and quarantined me in a hospital for two months.

These formative experiences in Liberia had a profound impact on me. The plight of people with leprosy has never been far from my heart. That’s why I joined the Board of effect:hope seven years ago. And the reason that my wife, June, and I are making plans to leave a gift in our Wills to this most trustworthy and effective organization.

With my inside view, I can assure you that effect:hope is an experienced steward; wisely using entrusted funds to help those who suffer the terrible isolation and indignity associated with leprosy and other co-endemic Neglected Tropical Diseases.

With the partnership of generous Canadians like you, millions of people with leprosy have been cured. Countless others have gratefully received the benefits that surgeries and rehabilitation provide. And still others are the thankful family members, who also faced stigma and suffering alongside their loved ones.

That’s why June and I are currently deciding on the best way to make a gift in our Will to effect:hope. We want the work to continue long after we’re gone.

We’ve investigated the options and have been thrilled to learn that it will be possible to make a significant gift through our estate – even after we ensure that children and grandchildren are provided for. Until we spoke with a professional, we had no idea that we could make such a significant difference to ending leprosy.

Your gift could mean that no matter what challenges the future holds, effect:hope can always be there to cure those affected by leprosy.

By: David Weind
Vice-Chair
effect:hope Board of Directors