By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Today I want to share a story happening right now in Jakarta.
We all remember the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was a worldwide fundraising effort to fight against ALS (or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a chronic and rare disease that affects the neuroglial system and leads to a complete paralysis. It had a huge impact and massive funds were raised at that time.
It hasn’t reached George Pritting yet.
The thing is George is not really as sympathetic and fun as the challenge. To be honest, George is not really friendly: He insults people, screams and requests help that no one wants to give. George is not really "bankable" i.e. the kind of guy that generates a lot of empathy. Worse, he has even been suspected of scams.
The reality though is that George is ill and stuck in the middle of Jakarta suffering from ALS and nobody seems to care. Every day his condition is getting worse. He cannot walk and he has difficulties for eating and breathing.
I am writing an article about his story today to highlight the gap between all the nice intentions we read every day and the fact that someone is left to die alone because of his personality / communication skills.
Yes George is quite antipathetic but does that justify to let him die in the middle of nowhere far from his family?
Let’s go back in time.
Originally from Tennessee in the US, attracted by a different culture & seeking new life - George decided in 2012 to take on a new adventure: He flew to Jakarta. Quickly, he took on a the position of a teacher for a small wage. All was going well. He got married with a local Indonesian, had a daughter, and was happily running a new chapter of his life.
Everything went well until 2013 when he was diagnosed with ALS. Thunder.
He ended up losing his job, his wife and his daughter, while all the money he had saved was going into day-to-day treatment.
As of now, George is stuck in a kos in the suburb of Jakarta with no money. Yet, he needs special assistance, nurses and medical equipment to be able to go home. The doctors are saying that in his condition he cannot travel without a dedicated flight and crew. The trip is worth 140,000 USD that the embassy is not in a position to cover.
This is a what George said himself about his condition:
“I have lost every function of my body. My arm and half of my body is paralyzed and I don’t have any money to cover my daily needs anymore. To be honest, I am not smelling great and each day is much more than ice bucket on the face. I am dying second per second. I just want to see my country again, my family and die as a human being. Really nice people are helping me here on the day to day but my condition requires professional help and environment. The US Embassy has been visiting me and is regularly trying to help me but they are unable to organize the repatriation. I have only one wish: To go home and to see my country again”
Tata, George's help said:
“George is in critical condition, he cannot walk, he needs permanent assistance. He went to the hospital as he couldn't go to the toilet for one week, his body needs professional care. His leg circulation is getting worse and worse. Sometimes he doesn’t get out for months and he is depressed. I'm trying my best but George can be really annoying, nervous and insulting. I am thinking about giving up.”
What can we do to help him?
A few things
⇨ Email him or visit him. For those living in Jakarta, you can contact him via his Facebook Page. Even a simple message will cheer him up.
⇨ Share that article on your social networks
⇨ Share that article with people who can create some kind of buzz among important people
Note from Jakarta100bars: This article was written by my friend Julien. It reminded me of the one I wrote urging expats to subscribe to a travel/health insurance (Why You Absolutely Need Travel Insurance in Indonesia).