By Adama Dyoniziak, Executive Director, Champions for Health
Ranulfo was a healthy 44-year-old with three children ranging from ages 13-23, working at a fumigation company. He played soccer, visited the park with his family, and created community through his church. Then in June 2018, he started to see red bubbles in his vision that began a life-changing journey. “I changed on the inside… I was depressed and frustrated with myself. My eldest son had to become the family provider. Every family member was taking turns helping me.” His wife, Roselia, started working the night shift, “We had to make drastic changes in our home so it would be safe for Ranulfo to get around. We knew the operation Ranulfo needed was expensive, and we were losing hope.”
Scared for Ranulfo’s vision, his family rushed him to the emergency room where Dr. Nikolas London happened to be covering a rotation for a colleague. “I will do everything possible to help you with your problem,” Dr. London told Ranulfo. Dr. London treated Ranulfo and referred him to Project Access. Dr. London, an ophthalmologist with Retina Specialists of San Diego, has volunteered with Project access since 2013, generously providing 109 patients with pro bono consultations and procedures.
“I do not remember when I did not want to be a physician,” reminisced Dr. London. He knew right away in medical school that he wanted to be a surgeon. “Being a Project Access volunteer is a very important part of my career in San Diego. The work is extremely meaningful to me. I try to help patients and share the journey with them,” shares Dr. London. Ranulfo says, “Dr. London has been an angel that God sent – he is the miracle I asked God for.”
Since his surgery in November, Ranulfo’s vision has greatly improved. Ranulfo is able to go on walks on his own and is less dependent on his family for everyday tasks. He feels much more relaxed in his own home, happier and more secure. Ranulfo and his family shared, “I am very grateful for the people who make Project Access possible. It gives us and others hope who are going through problems and don’t have resources. Thank you for supporting your neighbor.”
“The best thing about being a physician is that I treasure the relationships with my patients. I try to make a difference in their lives,” continued Dr. London. He always says yes to helping Project Access patients. So much so, that Dr. London has been reaching out to Project Access each year to provide holiday gift baskets of presents and meals, truly going above and beyond. Away from work, Dr. London cherishes time with his three young boy and incredible wife. They love traveling to rustic and exotic places, exploring new restaurants, camping and hiking, or simply spending quiet nights at home playing board games, solving puzzle boxes, or learning magic tricks.
Since 2008, Project Access has facilitated $21 million in care for 6,500+ uninsured patients just like Ranulfo by providing free consultations and surgeries – all thanks to the dedication, time and talent of our volunteer physicians. For every $1 spent on program expenses, we provide $10 in donated services — a return on investment of 1000%! Help Project Access patients by donating to Champions for Health, please visit www.championsforhealth.org.