The Mission of Dr. Rick Hodes


Julia Foran writes, Have you ever heard of scoliosis?

Have you ever heard of scoliosis? Or TB (tuberculosis) of the spine? Many of you probably haven’t heard of these diseases, they are terrible and extremely fatal. Scoliosis is when your spine slowly takes the shape of an “S”, and TB of the spine is when your spine slowly folds into a “V” shape and eventually collapses your lungs and kills you. Nobody knows what causes these unfortunate diseases, but there are things you can do to stop it. Dr. Rick Hodes is a doctor in Ethiopia saving the lives of people everywhere with scoliosis, TB of the spine, heart disease, and cancer. He has adopted 5 children that are now in college in the US, and has let 17 children in to his home. All with one of the terrible diseases he treats. He sends them to a $1 per day private school, feeds them, and gives them a bed to sleep on.My mom used to work with Dr. Rick at an adult learning center in Alaska over thirty years ago, he hadn’t even gone to med school yet! Then, one day, my mom got a call from her boss at the learning center and told us all about Rick and what he had done. We were invited to come to Denver to the Jewish Film Festival and see his short movie, Making the Crooked Straight. It was a great documentary and Dr. Rick was there, himself! We spent a lot of time with Dr. Rick eating dinner, going to the synagogue, and listening to the amazing stories he had to tell. By the end of the visit, he asked me to go back to Aspen and raise money for a Muslim child with TB of the spine with the Christian/Jewish congregation. I promised I would.My family and I returned to Aspen and spread the word about Rick. Dr. Rick told us about a 12 year old Muslim boy to sponsor named Abdulselam Jemal, and together, the people of Aspen raised $11,000 for his surgery, shelter, and food. Aspen continues to help Rick Hodes. 7th grader Whitney Sherriff is donating the money from her Bat mitzvah to JDC, Rick’s organization.Marilyn Berger is the widow of Don Hewitt, the producer of 60 Minutes. She was working as a journalist in Addis Ababa and met Rick there when she found a little boy with a bad spine. Years later, she wrote a book called This is a Soul, The Mission of Dr. Rick Hodes and adopted the small boy with a bad spine that Dr. Rick treated. The boy’s name is Danny and he and Marilyn visited Aspen to thank everyone. I was lucky enough to babysit him while she talked and he is a very smart kid!!! He read books to me, beat me in board games, and he’s one of the funniest people I have ever met.Dr. Rick is a great person and I will never forget meeting him. What he does is a great thing and he is a great person to look up to.