By MARK MAYNARD / Amy For Africa
SOUTH SHORE — Dr. Maggie Lawentmann found a passion this spring on a mission trip to the Moyo district of Uganda with Amy For Africa.
Her heart was touched so much by the Ma’Di people that it’s not a matter of if she goes back, but when.
In the meantime, she is dedicated to use her other passion – running – to make a difference in Moyo.
When Dr. Maggie signed up for the 50-mile run in the Hennepin 100 in Hennepin, Illinois, it wasn’t with Moyo in mind.
But that’s all changed. A lot has changed since her life-altering mission trip.
Now she’s running Miles for Moyo and she’s asking for her friends, colleagues and anybody else to join her in a challenge to raise $5,000 for medical supplies in the impoverished area between now and race day on Sept. 12.
“It’s amazing how far a few dollars can go,” she said. “We don’t perceive that here because things do cost here. But we could get 100 pills of antibiotics for $3 to $4.”
During a two-week trip with the Amy For Africa mission, Dr. Maggie and three nurses were able to treat more than 500. They gave out antibiotics and did some wound care.
But she felt helpless in so many ways.
“If we would have known … it’s hard to tell people we don’t have something to help them,” she said. “I think the goal with the medicine is the acute infectious things that would linger. Like malaria treatments, for instance.”
The people in Moyo live on about $2 a day so any medicine is a luxury. They practically ran to her upon finding out Lawentmann was a doctor.
One of the first visits for the AFA team was on top of Mount Abeso. The 20,000 who live there have one medical clinic but if they need more care, it’s 27 miles down the mountain and then an even longer walk to the hospital
“If they can do that with a broken bone or having a baby on these mountains, then I can turn this flat running I’m doing into being worth something,” she said.
Anyone who donates at least $25 will also receive a “Miles for Moyo” t-shirt.
Dr. Maggie, who ran her first marathon in April, is biting off a big challenge with the 50-mile race. Her training has been rugged but the purpose is changed.
“I’ve dedicated this run to Moyo,” she said. “I’m running with a purpose for the people I’ve met, shook hands with, cried with and laughed with. Those people will get me through the trail.”
After finishing the 50-mile run, she will begin training for the New York City Marathon in November.
Anyone wishing to donate to Miles for Moyo can do so on the amyforafrica.com website. In the message box, please put Miles for Moyo and a t-shirt size if you give $25 or more.