Little Richie (3) of Burundi has a big problem with something other boys can happily take for granted - his penis.
He suffers from a condition called hypospadias
Babies born with this condition do not always have penises that look like what is normally expected, as the urethra is instead anywhere along the underside of the penis, or even at the scrotum. Hypospadias has impacted Richie’s life tremendously and created many obstacles, not just his ability to pee, but also his ability to do so without pain.
This pain has held him back from developing simple skills like speaking, drawing and playing with friends – basic skills that enrich any childhood. It has kept him from sleeping soundly at night, and moreover, caused him such discomfort that he wouldn’t eat, making him malnourished and slowing normal growth.
And as Richie grows, if he does not get the surgery he needs to correct this condition, it is likely to cause penile curvature and extremely painful erections as well, further hindering his ability to live a full, enriched life. We can’t even begin to imagine the psychological impact that living with pain has already had on Richie
, and how much worse it could be as he grows.
Richie has already had several surgeries to correct this, the first of which was in his native African country of Burundi. When that procedure ended with complications, his family had to look elsewhere for help. This led them to Rome, where he and his dad stayed at Associazione KIM
, an Italian non-profit association which helps ailing children get the medical care which is unavailable in their home countries. KIM provides private, comfortable rooms to these children and their parents in a large communal home, giving them an intimate, supportive community (including volunteers like us at The American University of Rome
) to help them through their treatment and recovery until they are finally able to return home to happier, healthier, normal lives.
Sometimes KIM’s children need to return for more medical treatment or surgery, as is Richie’s case. Richie needs to come back to Rome as soon as possible to have a “urethroplasty”, a corrective surgery desperately needed to help him hopefully get on with the happy job of being just a regular little boy. Roman hospital A. Gemelli
is once again joining forces with KIM and can provide the surgery needed if we can just raise 3745 euros (about 4250 USD, and for what in the United States is 4-8x that amount).Please help change Richie’s life forever by making a gift of any amount (every bit helps, even $1) and by sharing this project with your friends and family!