Mexican Ronald McDonald House

No, it’s not called Ronaldo McDonald, it’s called Valentina House

We have so-called universal health coverage here in Mexico, but it is far from universal. First, you have to pay your taxes, and less than half of the work force does that. The slight majority works in the “informal” market. Meaning under the table.

And the health care offered is spread so thin that major diseases are not treated. At all. Like a child born with a corrupted heart. Or many forms of cancer. They are just sent home to eventually die.

But the charity called Los Cabos Children’s Foundation, (LCCF), supported by foreigners to the tune of millions of dollars, each year, built a program for children with cancer. It’s at the Salvatierra hospital in La Paz, because that’s where the political power is. LCCF originally wanted to build a hospital on a chunk of donated land it had ready but couldn’t get it done when the power of the state wanted the acutely ill children’s center in the government hospital in the state capitol.

Very ill children arrive from all over the state, and often they and their family must stay throughout a protracted medical battle.

Casa Valentina was built as a shelter in which patients and their relatives or caregivers can stay during their treatments. In addition to accommodations, they receive meals, there are occupational workshops and psychological therapies at no cost. Financial support comes from funds raised for the various  programs that benefit the little patients.

From 2014 to 2015, seven new cases of childhood cancer were registered and in the last year three small ones were not able to overcome the disease

Since Valentina opened five years ago this month,  it has served children from all over the state who have cancer. In the last year three children succumbed to the disease, in addition to three others who, from being in the surveillance stage, returned to the active stage.

Casa Valentina offers accommodation for both children with cancer and their caregivers, which in 95 percent of cases is the mother.