John Dau is one of 27,000 Lost Boys of Sudan. He spent his youth as a refugee of the Sudanese civil war. After years of unimaginable struggle, Dau has become a leading human rights activist for the people of Sudan. He has raised over $3 million to build and run the Duk Lost Boys Clinic in South Sudan and spearheaded the development of similar clinics across the war-torn region.
The team at BetterMed was honored to host a fundraising event for the John Dau Foundation in mid-June. Dau shared stories of his youth and his experiences managing his clinic in Duk County. Along with our providers and staff, friends and family gathered to meet him, learn about his experiences, and hear his amazing story.
“This is an amazing event. When organizations like BetterMed decide to help you, it’s huge. This is a way to give the John Dau Foundation a platform in Virginia, something we’ve never had before,” Dau said at the start of the event.
During the event, he answered attendee’s questions and screened the Sundance Award-winning film God Grew Tired of Us.
After the film, Dau spoke about the John Dau Foundation’s mission and shared the Duk clinic’s stories. While South Sudanese and American provider’s experiences are completely different, one thing rang true. Heads nodded around the room as Dau explained the importance of keeping humanity at the heart of health care.
“Compassion is everything. If a doctor just goes by the book, they won’t change much. If the doctor has compassion, has love for their patient, they will make a real change. The most successful health facilities are those that have love for others,” he explained.
Dau ended the night answering questions about his Lost Boy experiences, including sharing an anecdote about how his mother used to treat him for malaria by grinding up a local plant and forcing him to drink it. This story of a mother’s love and a home remedy illustrated not only the idea of compassion at the core of care, but also his focus on creating global awareness and cooperation for health care.
“It’s important that we come together and work to defeat diseases and illness. Health issues all over the world are connected. If you have a problem, I must go and help you–even if it’s not affecting me,” Dau said.
“America is a great nation not because of buildings or money, but because of organizations like BetterMed that try to help groups like the John Dau Foundation,” he said.
The event brought a new level of awareness to the John Dau Foundation and gave BetterMed’s team a new perspective on health care. It’s our mission to keep compassion at the center of care, and hearing stories like Dau’s motivate us to live our mission every day.
To learn more about the John Dau Foundation, visit their website.