Freedom Ride 2014

John Tequah, Patriarch of the Pillar of Fire mission site, was carried to the clinic the other night in a wheelbarrow.  He was confused, having trouble breathing, and his body was shaking with rigors.  We started an IV, put him on a nebulizer, and quickly did a rapid Malaria test, which gave us a positive result within seconds.  John had severe malaria.  We started him on Artesunate, which has to be given intravenously every 12 hours for at least three doses.

John Tequah holding cassava from his farm

Fortunately, John lives on the mission, so giving him medicine every 12 hours across multiple days is relatively easy… and just a short walk (or wheelbarrow ride).  But he’s not the first patient to come to the clinic in need of IV medication.  When this happens we try to find room for our patients in someone’s house near-by so they can get back to the clinic for their next dose.  When this is not possible, we have to refer them to St. Francis hospital… no one likes to go to St. Francis.

We need to be able to provide our patients with overnight care.  This means, we need to expand the clinic to include a “short stay” unit.  So, even though we haven’t officially been open for a year yet, it’s time to grow.  We will also be constructing a guesthouse for visiting medical, educational, and missions teams.  Currently we live in the clinic.  By moving into a guesthouse room we can open up three additional rooms of the current clinic building for patient care.

So, how are we going to pay for all this…

Freedom Ride 2014 is here… and the timing is perfect.  This is the third year the week-long 600-mile cycling event will be supporting the Po River Medical Clinic.  The first year provided the funds to renovate and fit-out the clinic building.  Last year, funds went toward our solar system and the rain water harvesting system.  This years ride will be focused toward the expansion of the clinic to include a short stay unit, increased maternity and mother-child space, as well as a guesthouse.

The Freedom Ride will take place from August 3-9 starting in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley, VA and ending in Zarephath, NJ.  Please support us and the expansion effort by donating to Freedom Ride at

Steve & Jen Butwill