One Life that Touches Many: Kenneth Mwanje

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In 2003,  Nadine Hart returned to her work as a Physician Assistant at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings, MT, after doing what she had set out to do — working for three months with the AIDS Orphans Educational Trust (AOET) near and in Jinja, a city in southeastern Uganda. On this trip, she met a young man, bedridden with AVN from undiagnosed and untreated sickle cell. When she left Uganda she told Kenny that she would find a way to help.

When Nadine got back to Montana, she put a picture of Kenny on her picture board in the newly remodeled internal medicine office. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Shenton came to an open house and asked about the kid in the photograph — and could he be helped with an operation?  Dr. Shenton volunteered his services, and St. Vincent Healthcare also signed on. For the next year, Hart sent money to Kenny so he could buy crutches, live in better housing and buy better food. She also spent the year working on his immigration paperwork to bring him to Montana for medical care.

Kenny, who had arrived shy and withdrawn, had missed most of his education due to his illness. Orphaned at age 12, he lived in Uganda with his brothers in a small brick building with no electricity or water. Sometimes he would be confined to bed for six months after a sickle cell crisis. He spoke only in a whisper when he arrived in the States.

During the painful process of having both hips replaced, Kenny made such an impact in the hospital, touched so many lives, and inspired Nadine and her church family to start a mission project that raised money to provide clean water to children in Uganda. But that’s not all. Years later, the new non-profit created, Hope 2 One Life (H2O) still continues to raise money for Kenny’s impoverished community, and has now built a small medical clinic that is stocked with supplies from St. Vincents’ Hospital.

Kenneth is still here in the US, and has now gotten his GED and attends Rocky Mountain College. It just goes to show you what an impact we can make on an individual basis. Instead of complaining, whining and bitching about his painful lot in life, Kenneth approached his interaction at St. V’s with an attitude of gratitude, a positive demeanor and amazing depths of inner fortitude. It was his soul that the nurses and doctors saw which prompted them to continue giving, not only to make Kenny’s life better, but to make the community where he grew up a better, and healthier place to live to everyone.

To learn more about the Hope 2 One Life organization, or read more about Kenneth’s amazing story, read HERE and HERE.

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