Students wear mitts to experience effects of leprosy
In an effort to raise funds and help cure at least one person of leprosy, students at Patmos College in Sarnia wore a mitt on one hand for an entire school day. Wearing the mitt helped them understand to a degree what it’s like to live with the effects of leprosy.
The students gathered enough pledges to cover the medical, emotional and rehabilitative care to heal individuals suffering from leprosy.
They also raised awareness about leprosy by visiting a local elementary school, Sarnia Christian School (SCS), where they hosted an assembly on the subject. They showed a video documenting the effects of leprosy and shared some of the statistics on the disease.
The high school students organized several games for the SCS students to help them experience the various effects of leprosy. One of the games involved students trying to find their way through an obstacle course blindfolded.
Not just a disease of Bible times, leprosy continues to be prevalent around the world. Within a 24-hour timeframe, 1,000 people are newly diagnosed with the disease. There are about 500 people with leprosy in Canada but they are not considered infectious or a public health concern.
In 1982, the cure for leprosy was introduced, known in short-form as MDT or Multi-Drug Therapy. The treatment is very effective, according to The Leprosy Mission Canada (TLMC), a charitable organization founded in 1892 in Guelph, Ontario.
Since the discovery of the cure, TLMC has focused on diagnosing and bringing MDT to as many people as possible.
“Our goal is to find leprosy early and cure it before it starts to do its awful damage,” TLMC web site states. “If leprosy goes untreated it will destroy the nerves in the hands, feet, and other extremities, which leads to deformities and disabilities such as the loss of use of fingers, feet and other parts of the body. Once treated, patients with leprosy quickly become non-infectious.”
TLMC also provides rehabilitation, small business loans and training for people living with the effects of leprosy.
Patmos is donating the funds raised through its leprosy challenge to TLMC’s Cured Not Cursed youth program; an initiative that challenges youth to get involved in raising funds and awareness to cure leprosy.
Principal Al Bron says by participating in the leprosy challenge staff at Patmos College is challenging students to become more aware of the needs of others in the world.
“We’re trying to encourage students to think beyond only the local issues, but to the social, environmental and health issues people are struggling with,” says Bron. “We want to be part of making a difference in the world.”
Patmos opened its doors to high school students in September, 2007. For more information about the school, visit www.patmoscollege.ca.