Inspira: One Doctor’s Mission to Provide More Than Just Medicine

Imagine this: you have traveled for days on end trying to reach a hospital for your sick child, crossing mountains and rivers. Once you reach the hospital in a faraway village, you have no money, no food, no place to stay, and your main concern is your child’s health.

This is reality for many families who travel to Lima, Peru. Their solution is sleeping on the hospital floor while their child is fighting for their life, but one doctor has dedicated his time to fixing this problem.

Ricardo Pun-Chong first noticed this occurrence when he was in Lima for medical training. He realized that day after day, many families were sleeping on the hospital floors while their relatives received medical care. When he learned that many of them came from very far away, and had little to no money, he decided to do something about it.

In 2008, Pun-Chong started a nonprofit organization called Inspira, which helps families from all over Peru. Inspira provides free meals, housing, and support for the families and their sick children while they are fighting and undergoing treatment. Pun-Chong talked to CNN about his initiative, “for leukemia, the most frequent cancer in kids, the first treatment is about six months. But to stay here is too expensive. Sometimes families, they have to sell everything they have. They feel helpless. They feel really alone. They either have to make it work and stay, or they make the difficult trip back home without their children receiving full treatment.”

Pun-Chong only lives a few blocks away from the Inspira shelter. He is there almost everyday, and even spends holidays with the families. “The shelter is a very special place. We not only wanted people to have a place to sleep and food to eat, we also wanted to create a space to help the kids be cured. It’s a place with a lot of love.”

The organization is run by Pun-Chong, a small staff, and many caring volunteers. Pun-Chong not only provides these families shelter and food, he offers them a home where they can feel supported and cared about. His hard works helps families feel warm and welcomed when they need it most.