Doing More For Los Cabos Kids

Special cases and free clinics are the focus for Amigos de los Niños

Since it was established 15 years ago, the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation has invested $15 million USD in local programs that help improve children’s quality of life, with a focus on health. But unlike most other non-profits, which raise money for their own programs, the LCCF uses the donations it gets to support and strengthen other community programs. The LCCF recently announced its 26 grantees for 2017-18, and over the next year the Gringo Gazette will be featuring each organization and the work they do. In this issue, we are profiling the Amigos de los Niños organization of Los Cabos.

audiology_0.JPGAmigos de los Niños started out as a grass-roots organization in 1991, when a group of Cabo locals decided they wanted to do something to help their less fortunate neighbors. At Christmas time, they dressed up one of their members as “Cabo Claus” and handed out Christmas gifts to local needy children. But while it was heartwarming to see the children’s smiles and laughter, the group realized that this wasn’t the solution for the problems these children and their families faced every day.

The group decided it wanted to carry out projects that would help improve children’s quality of life here in Los Cabo. Their first project towards this goal was installing water purification systems in local public schools, providing clean water for hundreds of school children. Once that project was completed, the true vision of Amigos de los Niños was realized: to not only improve children’s quality of life, but to help provide the quality medical care they so desperately need.

The Amigo de los Niños provides health care, medical consultations, and assistance for children up to 18 years old. There are two main parts to their programs: The Special Case Children and free clinics.

Special Case Children are severely ill or disabled, with conditions including cerebral palsy, Downs syndrome, scoliosis and diabetes. They require long-term medical care, and often it can be difficult to find a doctor who can treat them.

The majority of the special cases are children suffering from cancer. Amigo de los Niños was the on-the-ground organization working to get a pediatric oncology service in Baja California Sur, which was accomplished in 2012.

With the Pediatric Hemio-Oncology Unit established in La Paz, Amigo de los Niños took on the responsibility of purchasing the chemotherapy meds for Los Cabos patients and paying for their transportation to and from La Paz for their treatments. They have also provided financial incentives to bring a specialized physician to the BCS program.

When it comes to their free clinics, there are four types the Amigo de los Niños organizes. They have been holding biannual audiology clinics for more than 20 years. Over the years, these clinics have seen and diagnosed more than 2,000 Los Cabos children. More than 1,000 hearing aids have been given out at no cost to the families.

Free pediatric cardiology clinics are held twice a year, or on an as-needed basis for children new to the program or existing patients having problems. By collaborating with the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation, American Airlines, the Avera McKennen Hospital and the Omaha Children’s Hospital, Amigos de Los Niños has been able to 15 children to the U.S. for corrective open heart surgeries and procedures.

The Amigo de Los Niños has also hosted several corrective eye surgeries over the years. Seven children who suffered from strabismus (misaligned or “crossed” eyes) received surgery to correct this condition, which makes learning, socializing and sometimes just walking difficult.

To learn more about the Amigo de los Niños organization, visit their website at www.adlncabo.org. To learn more about the work of the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation, visit their website at www.loscaboschildren.org.