My brother Gaskov Clergé ‘s death in 1999 left us with Chaos, disbelief and horror. He was the life of a party on Friday; got hospitalized on Saturday; and succumbed to liver cancer on Sunday at 38, at the dawn of a promising and fulfilling life.
During the days following that excruciatingly painful reality, we, his family and friends, decided to grieve his loss by giving a part of our modest lives back to our community, hoping to someday stop the tears and heal the wounds. That pledge yielded the Gaskov Clergé Foundation-GCF. Instead of surrendering to depression, we spent our time on countless lively discussions which shaped the organization’s character and future. We defined our mission to be one that will empower individuals by giving them access to education and health care. With modest contributions from relatives and friends, we completed the tax-exempt recognition process and embarked on carrying our mission the following summer. Our goals were to implement a medical mission in Haiti and to provide scholarships to as many children as we possibly could. In August 2000, with a team of approximately 30 doctors, nurses, a support staff, and many bags of donated medical supplies, we traveled to Les Cayes, Haiti on a shoe-string budget, with the goal of seeing 500 patients in 5 days.
We exceeded that goal by the second day. By the 5th day, we examined 1,500 patients with hundreds more not seen by our volunteering Physicians. As for the scholarships, we started with 10 children as recipients and also had to turn away many more. On the trip’s last day, I was tired, brokenhearted and tearful. The tears were partly from the liberating feeling of being at peace with Gaskov’s death through the lives we just touched. Also, my tears were from an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy…in the face of such unfulfilled basic human needs…the right to a decent education and health care.
Since 1999, GCF’s medical missions became the main source of medical care for many who can’t afford to see a doctor. The yearly missions offer free health care and medication to an average of 2,000 patients in the region, many of whom travel from the most remote areas. We have provided financial assistance for several life-saving surgeries in Haiti and we are now operating a world-class medical center (Klinik Fonfred) in Southern Haiti. For our growing Education component, we sponsor 100+ children and now our students and our youth volunteers are graduating as Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Lawyers and Doctors. Most importantly, we are blessed with the love and the deep gratitude of those we serve.
Through that love and gratitude, we accept Gaskov’s death as a priceless and precious gift. The gift of knowing that it is making a significant difference in many lives and will continue to do so, God willing, with no end in sight. That I believe, has profoundly transformed my grieving experience from detrimental to one that is therapeutic, serene, satisfying and complete. With that said, do you still ask “Why should I support the Gaskov Clergé Foundation?
Seven Reasons to Support GCF
2) We have a volunteer Board of professionals who are dedicated to serve our community. We believe we are the change agents who can solve our community’s issues.
3) We are doing amazing work with very limited resources.
4) We are transparent. You can see exactly what we are doing with any funding we receive. They all go directly to the cause.
5) We provide scholarships to about 100 students a year in Southern Haiti. Some of our scholarship recipients are now lawyers, nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Agronomes.
6) We believe our community deserves access to health care. It’s a fundamental human right. So 4 years ago we build a world-class medical center in Fonfred, a rural community near Les Cayes, Haiti. Thousands of patients receive continuity of care at Klinik Fonfred. Most importantly, we treat all of our patients with utmost respect. It could have been any of us in dire need.
7) Our operating budget for Klinik Fonfred is slightly under $200,000 a year and this year alone, we’ve cared for over 10,000 patients and have saved many lives.
How You Can Help
Contributing to this cause is making a tangible difference in many lives. Please support our community and contribute to the causeat: