The Wilton Interfaith Action Committee (Wi-ACT) is a consortium of the congregants of 11 Wilton institutions of different faiths — Christian (Catholic and Protestant), Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. Wi-ACT included a 12th organization until last year, when the Wilton Baptist Church unfortunately closed.
But in a final display of true faith, Wilton Baptist elected to put the proceeds of the sale of its church property toward acts of GOOD, turning over funds to nine different nonprofit organizations that congregational leaders felt would best carry out the church’s goal of serving people in need.
In that donation lies the seeds from which one of Wi-ACT’s long-time charitable efforts has benefitted. Wilton Baptist gave $12,191 from the property’s sale to Wi-ACT without restriction as to its use.
Now, the 36 members of Wi-ACT’s Steering Committee (drawn from those 11 Wilton faith institutions) has announced a $5,000 donation to CF Bridge of Hope, a local cystic fibrosis (CF) 501(c)(3) nonprofit started by Dr. Hossein Sadeghi and Dr. Golnar Raissi, two Steering Committee members, that provides lifesaving treatment to children in countries where the advanced treatment is unavailable.
Cystic Fibrosis is a crippling multi-system disease that gradually overwhelms its sufferers’ lungs and their whole respiratory system. As their breathing ability diminishes, sufferers become oxygen-starved and waste away. A child who does not receive the kind of advanced treatment available here has a life expectancy barely into the late teens.
At Sadeghi and Raissi’s clinic at the Tully Health Center in Stamford, what is needed to set these children on a really good path forward can be accomplished in two- to three weeks of treatment, followed by a large supply of medications the patients continue to take upon their return home. Sadeghi is a nationally-recognized pediatric pulmonologist on the faculty of Columbia University Medical School, and he and Raissi volunteer their time in this work.
The funds donated by Wi-ACT are sufficient to provide for the treatment in Stamford of two children suffering from CF.
Wi-ACT (which works by the motto, “We act together for good!”) has been involved in the work for eight years now. Its volunteers provide housing, meals and transportation to the clinic for the children and their parents. In the process of providing this care, Wi-ACT volunteers have become very close with those families, language barriers notwithstanding. They follow the children’s progress and the very encouraging reports of a new life for each child treated, of children now able to grow in a normal fashion to be the same size as their siblings, to participate in school, and to have their lives back and a future.
This year, child patients are expected to arrive from Romania, Pakistan, Palestine (through an Israeli physician), Lebanon, Iran, and Kazakhstan. Others are expected from Central and South American countries. Bridge of Hope’s work is crucial to the ability of these children actually to survive their CF given the limited treatment available in their home countries.
Wi-ACT is always open to additional support of its efforts from the wider community. Donations can be made to CF Bridge of Hope, 39 Ridge Ln., in Wilton. For $2,500, The cost of what is needed for the treatment of one child — one life saved — is $2,500, and contributors are able to get to know the children they sponsor and their accompanying parents (with the parents’ permission).
Donations in any amount help as well as volunteering with Wi-ACT to help with meals, lodging, and transportation to and from the Stamford clinic. To volunteer, visit the online signup.