A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill doctor is continuing to help children in Malawi, even after being forced to return home and fight the COVID-19 crisis here.
Dr. Elizabeth Fitzgerald and her husband established the The Malawi Children’s Initiative in 2017. The two doctors adopted two 8-month-old twin boys from the country, forever binding them to Malawi. Since then, they have worked tirelessly to save lives in their children’s home country–even establishing a pediatrics lab overseas.
This year, however, their fundraising efforts were interrupted by COVID-19, threatening resources for the hospital in Malawi, which has come to rely on financial support from Orange County, North Carolina.
Last year, over 100 members of the Chapel Hill community gathered together for a run to benefit sick children in Malawi. Racers raised over $35,000.
“The run that we had last year raised enough money to start this pediatrics lab at Kamuzu Central Hospital. It opened in November, and we were able to hire a total of eight employees while we were living in Malawi,” Fitzgerald said.
This hospital has come to rely on the charity work done in Orange County. Race director, Jeff Nieman, wanted to make sure no one gets left behind.
However, social distancing guidelines made traditional fundraising impossible this year. Supporters had to get creative if they wanted to help address these critical needs.
“We thought, well, people still want to get out and get exercise and we still want to do something to support this charity, so we came up with the idea to make it a virtual run,” said Nieman.