Help Michelle bring Hope to Uganda-Sole Hope/YL Mission Trip

For: Michelle Gillard
New York
Organizer: Michelle Gillard
Help Michelle bring Hope to Uganda-Sole Hope/YL Mission Trip (Michelle Gillard)
of $3,500 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 43 donors
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

I struggle to find the words to write this.  For those of you that may not know me.  My name is Michelle Gillard.  I am 42,  married to my incredible husband Scott.  We have a spunky daughter Olivia (6) and two bonus children, Tori (18) and Brenden (20).  I have always been the happiest when I am helping others.  A year ago I stumbled upon a foundation through Young Living that is doing great things.  Sole Hope is working in Uganda to rid and remove jiggers (sand fleas) from the feet of men, women and children.  Jiggers burrow into the feet and lay eggs.  Overtime the eggs multiply and destroy the soft tissue.  The resulting wounds are prone to infection and disease. 

A group of us participated in a Sole Hope Shoe Cutting Party one year ago in November.  Who would have known it would have led me to this today.  At this initial party we collected and cut dozens of shoe patterns for a size 12 Toddler Shoe.  This hit me hard when I received the pattern as it was the same size as my 5 year old (at the time) daughter, Olivia.  When she seen how emotional I was, she went to her closet and took out all of her shoes except for one pair and came to me and said, “Mom, we can send my shoes to the kids.  I don’t need all of these.  I only need one.”  Bless her heart!  On 11/10/2017 we made 101 shoe patterns and sent them to Sole Hope with other supplies.  To think we helped 100 kids, made my heart so happy!

On June 6th of this year we participated in the second part of giving to this organization and hosted a Sole Hope Care Kit Party.  The donations that came in from our community were incredible.  The volunteers that came that night helped to assemble 212 Care Kits!  It took two HUGE boxes to fit them all in.  Our local UPS workers donated their own money to ship them once they heard about what we were doing.

About 2 weeks after that Care Kit party on 6/27/2017 I came across an application through the Young Living Foundation to apply for a mission trip to Jinja, Uganda to work alongside the Sole Hope volunteers.  Something deep within me spoke, I didn’t think, I just pressed the button and filled out the information.  When I completed the application I was excited, nervous, scared and filled with hope that I might be able to see this journey come full circle. 

On 10/4/2017 my application was accepted and I have been given the opportunity to travel to Uganda and work alongside the volunteers there to remove jiggers, bathe and care for their feet, provide them with shoes and the knowledge they need to remain jigger free.  There were hundreds of applications received and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been chosen for this opportunity.

So I stand before each one of you today asking for your help.  (NOT easy for me to do).  Financially this would place a significant burden on my family.  I am a true believer in everything happens for a reason.  I believe that if this is meant to be, it will be.  If this speaks to you and you find yourself in a position to give, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!  

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on July 18, 2018


Posted on July 18, 2018

I am humbled and grateful to each and everyone of you.  The goal of $3500.00 has been exceeded!  The amount above and beyond will be used to purchase items to take to Uganda that they are need of.  I should be receiving a list from them shortly.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  

Together we are doing GREAT things!!!  

Posted on March 31, 2018

Posted on March 31, 2018

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to those that have donated!!!  Your generosity has helped me to raise over half of the goal so far!  So many times in this world we hear much negativity but each day I am reminded of all the wonderful, great people in my life.  I am so fortunate to be surrounded by such amazing people!  Have a wonderful Easter and THANK YOU for being you! 


Posted on February 28, 2018


Posted on February 28, 2018

Sole Hope posted this today on their FaceBook page....I cry every time I read stories like this.  To know that in this day in age there are still people that suffer through things like this.  This story has a happy ending and this is EXACTLY why I cannot wait to serve in Uganda.  Each person there deserves a happy ending.  If we all do a little we can do SO much!!!

Andrew is a man with dual university degrees in Biology and Geography. He is fluent in eight languages. He loves his home country of Uganda. “God has given this country everything,” he says. “We have lakes, forests, food, fertile soil, and mountains.”

With his love of geography and some technical expertise, Andrew became a surveyor for a company in Kampala. He traveled by car from border to border and by boat to the many islands in Lake Victoria processing land titles. “I’m an expert in that,” he says simply.

Andrew is fiercely loyal, so when his mom, Prossy, got sick, he didn’t hesitate to drop everything to go and care for her. “When you have a child, you are his guardian,” he explains. But as his mom aged, their roles reversed. “Now I am her guardian,” he says.

Andrew moved from his home to a temporary structure made of sticks and leaves. He did the best he could for Prossy, but she didn’t improve and he, too became ill. “Jiggers attacked my mom, and when I went to care for her, they even attacked me,” he says.

Jiggers are a parasite that burrows into a person’s skin, attach to a blood vessel, and swell to about the size of a green pea. Having a few jiggers is itchy and painful. Being infested is crippling physically, socially, and financially. “Because of jiggers, we had problems,” Andrew says. He looks down at his hands as he organizes his thoughts.

“You cannot go to the people,” he says. “You fear people.” And he is right. Jiggers are socially stigmatized. Sole Hope’s social workers often find our patients completely isolated from their community.

Andrew ticks off the next problem on his fingers. “You cannot go to the garden to dig and get food. You lack food at home.” It’s painful to walk, and people are exhausted and depleted by the parasites.

“Poverty,” Andrew says simply. “You lack money because you cannot work well.” People struggle to work because of the physical difficulty and also the social isolation. With a severe case of jiggers, it can be tough to make ends meet.

All because of an insect.

For six years, Andrew’s mom suffered from jiggers. She was bedridden, and on the rare occasions she went out, she walked doubled over with the help of a stick. Andrew deteriorated as he struggled to help her without the proper knowledge or tools. He lost his business; he lost his home, he lost his health.

When Andrew’s son came to check on his father and grandmother, he was shocked. He couldn’t believe the state he found his family living in. “What can we do?” Andrew asked. The son knew of Sole Hope and recommended making the journey to Jinja. “There’s no problem, let’s go,” Andrew said.

During the two weeks at The Hope Center, Andrew and Prossy felt their lives change. Their jiggers were removed, their wounds healed, and their health was restored. “Mom is now moving very well,” Andrew says. “She would have died shortly, but now I know she will survive. That’s good.”

Andrew and Prossy went home last Friday. As the van rolled into their village, neighbors started to gather. As the doors of the van opened, Prossy eased her way down to the ground. She stood on her own two feet looking at her friends and neighbors and, with a smile, she began to dance. Prossy, who had been bedridden for six years, danced in the street until the neighbors wondered if she lost her mind. Then she invited the community into her home. She sat with her neighbors. She smiled, she laughed, she stood, she danced.

Prossy and Andrew are no longer isolated. There is still a lot of work to be done, but they have a way to provide food for themselves and a way to break out of poverty. They have the knowledge and tools to stay jigger free. They have a community that is invested in seeing them succeed.  

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