Sometimes you hear a story so uplifting, it draws you out of your daily routine and compels you to share it with others – in hopes they may also feel inspired to spring into action. That is exactly what happened when we heard about Mark and Tracy Cuneo’s selfless journey to help women and children at a volunteer-ran hospital in Balfate, Honduras, and the generous donation Garden of Life made to accompany them.
For those of you who do not know him, Mark Cuneo is an Enterprise Account Director at CardConnect. His wife, Tracy Cuneo, is a Certified Professional Midwife, who provides childbirth and other reproductive healthcare services to women at the Graceful Birth Services of Georgia. As a couple, Mark and Tracy are passionate volunteers who both have both dedicated a large part of their lives towards the betterment of communities located close to their home in the state of Georgia and abroad.
Back in January 2017, Tracy learned that over a third of infants are malnourished in Honduras, and 18 percent of the country’s population lacks access to basic healthcare services. She also learned that clean water and proper sanitation are both extremely scarce. As a midwife and compassionate volunteer, these heartbreaking conditions compelled Tracy to plan a trip to the republic where she and Mark could help local women and children gain access to the healthcare services they desperately needed.
In tandem of the planning process, Tracy wrote a letter that Mark would hand-deliver to Garden of Life, one of CardConnect’s customers. Garden of Life, a Florida-based company, produces non-GMO, organic whole food supplements. In the letter, Tracy asked if Garden of Life would donate vitamins to support the trip, Garden of Life responded by asking how many pounds of vitamins they could take with them; an act of kindness that far surpassed the Cuneo’s hopes. Garden of Life donated 200 bottles of prenatal vitamins, which meant that Mark and Tracy Cuneo could travel to Balfate with $15,000 worth of free prenatal vitamins and 200 pregnant women will be provided with the necessary vitamins they currently lack for a healthy pregnancy and postpartum.
During their weeklong trip, Mark and Tracy volunteered at a hospital named Loma De Luz, which in English translates to “Light on a Hill”. As a volunteer midwife, Tracy provided reproductive healthcare to many women with various needs. Some patients needed routine childbirth support to ensure a safe and healthy delivery. Others needed treatment for life threatening illnesses including untreated chlamydia and stage four cervical cancer. Mark who was not able to provide direct medical care, supported his wife and other volunteers by cooking meals, doing laundry and keeping up with other daily tasks.
During their trip, the Cuneo’s were not only exposed to the hardships Hondurans face, but the also to the way they accepted and supported one another in light of their poor living conditions. When we spoke to Mark about his journey, in addition to working at the hospital he described volunteering at an orphanage , where he met a 12-year-old boy who had autism, as well as an adolescent girl with a rare skin disease that blinded her in her youth. “It was very somber, but the amount of love they poured out was so beautiful. That is something I did not anticipate.” Mark Cuneo said.
According to Unicef, chronic malnutrition in Honduras has decreased from 38 to 25 percent in past years. It still remains high to due limited availability of food, poor nutritional practices and the detrimental impact of disease in a republic where medical resources are severely lacking. If you’d like to learn more about Hospital Loma de Luz go to http://www.crstone.org/ (This is a Christian organization and is not associated with CardConnect or Garden of Life).
We would like to thank the Cuneos and Garden of Life for allowing us to share their incredible story. It is partnerships like these that truly inspire us to achieve more.