WILKES-BARRE — Charm Giangrieco had two photos on her phone, of the same Haitian child at the start and end of a single week. In the first, the young boy had a frightening rash across his face. In the second, it was gone. The difference: A little Neosporin brought from the U.S. The simplest supplies, she noted, can make a world of difference.
So when she and her son loaded some 30 boxes of gloves, bandages, breathing masks and other donated medical supplies into an SUV, they were also loading help for scores of children they will see in an upcoming visit to the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.
John Giangrieco, a freshman at Misericordia University, will be making his fourth trip to the island country, a regular excursion he started making when he was 16 and attending Seton Catholic High School in Binghamton. His mother decided to go along last year. Like him, she was compelled to return.
The nursing student told his story in an April article in the Times Leader, almost casually mentioning that donations are welcome. Community Health Systems, the for-profit owner of Wilkes-Barre General, heard the call and sent a skid full of boxes marked expressly for Haiti. The Giangriecos came to the loading dock on the Chestnut Street side of the hospital Friday to accept the donations, with hospital CEO Cor Catena arriving to learn a little about the trip, and to encourage John to come back and apply for a job after he gets his nursing degree.
Catena asked how the supplies would get to Haiti, and Charm explained each of the 16 people making the trip later this month takes an empty suitcase for just such a situation. But the organizer of the trips, Sister Brigid O’Mahoney at Seton Catholic in Binghamton, also arranges to send supplies down regularly to sustain the work there, which is done primarily by Haitians.
Joseph Grilli, Misericordia’s director of corporate and institutional recruitment, told John Giangrieco he would help arrange shipment if needed. Grilli added that Geisinger, a regional rival of Community Health, is also donating supplies.
It doesn’t take much, Charm said. “They have no drugs, so even something like ibuprofen is a powerful painkiller for them.”
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish