Jay on July 29, 2010

One of the most common questions mothers ask in Africa is “should I have my children checked?” I usually give a hearty laugh, a smile and insist to the mother that checking the child for subluxation will “help to make your children much stronger!”

Dr Christina and Dr Jay adjusting under the sun in Ghana

Dr Christina and Dr Jay adjusting under the sun in Ghana

There is no such thing as too young or too old for Chiropractic care. Chiropractic patients around the world range in age from birth to the elderly. I always joke with patients that when I have my first child I’ll be catching the baby in a ready to adjust position! Regardless of age, vertebrae can become misaligned (aka “Subluxation”) and thus cause pressure or irritation to nerves. The birth process is a huge stress for infants, and this trauma may distort/twist the neck and spine. The biggest problems occur if these stresses are left uncorrected as the vertebral subluxation may disturb the delicate spinal cord and nerves that control the infant’s muscles and organs. We have seen time and again cases where uncorrected subluxations lead to a myriad of deformities and pathologies like our friend Wisdom.

A much happier and healthy Wisdom!

To these mothers, often thru translation, we share that an early Chiropractic checkup may detect subluxations while they are still easily correctable. In fact most Chiropractors learn in school that a child’s spine grows almost 50% in length during that first year (the equivalent of a teenager growing to be nine feet tall in a year! WOW!) It’s this rapid growth and development in the early stages of your child’s life that is so vital to their long-term health. Through Chiropractic, our philosophy is that it’s much more important to maintain healthy bodies than to wait for disease or illness to rear it’s ugly head.

Young and adorable Polly

Young and adorable Polly

As the years pass, youngsters will bump and bruise and suffer uncountable accidents/falls – just think, they are learning to walk, riding bikes, jumping on beds and running around the neighborhood playing everyday! Now even though the tears do dry, can we see any underlying injuries in the body that could go undetected? This is where your Chiropractic adjustment comes in to clear those subluxations and allow your child to develop a normal, healthy body.

For the first time mothers who bring their children in and ask: “How effective is chiropractic care for my children?”

Learning about health!

Learning about health!

I always remind them that some guy named DD Palmer discovered the power of correcting the nervous system naturally and thus was born Chiropractic – and we have been providing safe and effective care or children for over 100 years. Today there are literally thousands of published studies from all around the world. Together, this confirms the effectiveness of Chiropractic for many childhood illnesses, and as the years tick by the scientific evidence continues to grow and daily people have life changing adjustments!

Tags: 501c3 chiropractic, africa, africa chiropractic, AIDS, children chiropractic, Chiropractic, chiropractic mission, chiropractic mission trip, chiropractic mission trips, chiropractic missions, chiropractic non profit, chiropractic non profit organization, Chiropractic Nonprofit, chiropractic organization, cocoa ghana, donation, Ghana, ghana chiropractic, ghana hiv, Ghana volunteer, Hardt Haven, Health, Health mission, HIV, HIV chiropractic, innate, J2S, jay breitlow, jean murray, Journey, journey to solidarity, mission chiropractic, non profit chiropractic organization, NonProfit, palmer, palmer college, palmer college of chiropractic, Service, Solidarity, tema ghana, volunteer, volunteer ghana, wellness, wellness africa

Jay on January 7, 2010

Journey to Solidarity

Values Statement

Solidarity – We strive to be inclusive of all people regardless of faith, race, age, or education. We are a diverse group of people who have come together with one common goal, creating better lives for people.

The author helping up a young lady after her 1st adjustment

Helping up a young lady after her 1st adjustment

Integrity – We are diligent and efficient with all of our resources, upholding to the highest of ethical standards with respect to our donors, members, and those we seek to serve.

Initiative - We are seeking areas of need, primarily in developing countries, and volunteers who want to become involved and connect their lives with those in need.

Sustainability - We look to the future of the communities and organizations that we commit to and strive to create long-lasting changes and partnerships that will continue many years into the future.

Tags: 501c3 chiropractic, africa, africa chiropractic, AIDS, children chiropractic, Chiropractic, chiropractic mission, chiropractic mission trip, chiropractic mission trips, chiropractic missions, chiropractic non profit, chiropractic non profit organization, Chiropractic Nonprofit, chiropractic organization, cocoa ghana, dale breitlow, donation, Ghana, ghana chiropractic, ghana hiv, Ghana volunteer, Hardt Haven, Health, Health mission, HIV, HIV chiropractic, hiv africa, HIV AIDS, innate, J2S, jay breitlow, jean murray, Journey, journey to solidarity, mission chiropractic, non profit chiropractic organization, NonProfit, palmer, palmer college, palmer college of chiropractic, Service, Solidarity, SOS Ghana, tema ghana, volunteer, volunteer ghana, wellness, wellness africa

Jay on October 25, 2009

At 9AM the crowd was attentive and waiting.  VERY well behaved children and a GREAT crowd

At 9AM the crowd was attentive and waiting. VERY well behaved children and a GREAT crowd

Tema is large port community located about 45 minutes outside of the bustling capital city of Accra. All the exports, via sea, for Ghana come in and out of Tema. The primary export, cocoa, has the large and obtrusive “Cocoa Board” offices and storage buildings here. I admit to being a lover of the cocoa product; however, it was not that temptation that brought me to Tema this weekend, instead it was a large orphanage known at SOS Children’s Village.

Dr Hunter checks out a little boy for subluxation.

Dr Hunter checks out a little boy for subluxation.

SOS Children’s villages, based out of the UK, are in 132 countries and each village is home to somewhere between 50 and 150 children. This weekend you helped bring Chiropractic and Wellness to nearly 100 children and somewhere around 40 adult volunteers and staff.

How strong are you now boys?!  WHOA!!

How strong are you now boys?! WHOA!!

This children’s village was very unique and quite different from the other orphanages I have seen around Ghana. They are clearly well organized as we started promptly at 9AM with introductions and a brief history of the doctors. A local American expatriate (Doctor Cox), who has a for-profit clinic in Accra, was vital to helping organize the weekend for Dr Hunter and me.

Dr. Cox spoke a little about his clinic before I spoke with the children about what their health meant to them and how chiropractic and the adjustment would make them stronger.

It was new and exciting to them; just plain old exciting for me!

It was new and exciting to them; just plain old exciting for me!

It was a large crowd as you can see from the photos, and just as we were heading outside to adjust under a large tree, we noticed the national news showing up. This was a brilliant way of getting the message out to the people of Ghana (those that watch a TV at least) that there are alternative ways to tend to your health besides drugs and surgery. The photos speak for themselves as children from the age of 2 up to adults 65 years young, received adjustments without being asked for compensation. Just as when Christina and I spend time at HardtHaven, all the payment necessary was a smile and a “medasi paaa” (Twi for “Thank you”).

Working those abs!

Working those abs!

Adjusting into the afternoon, we saw a total of about 140 people and then had a Q&A session afterwards. They were as interested to ask about their spine as I was to talk about it. Everything focused on how the adjustment helped them that day to how to sit better, eat greener, think positively and exercise daily to carry this strength forward.

Who loves Chiropractic?!

Later in the week, I received a call from a school that I frequent in the north (about 5 hours from Accra), and they wanted to know if I was the same person they saw on TV that week. When I returned to them this week, I returned a minor celebrity… I guess we all get our 15 minutes of fame, right?

A house mother and one of her children.

Thank you for making this a great week for us because of your donation. Please remember your donation counts, and that each donation of $100 is sent a complimentary hand painted Ghanaian bracelet. Published by Dr Jay Breitlow, photos by the author.

A house mother and one of her children.

Tags: 501c3 chiropractic, africa, africa chiropractic, AIDS, children chiropractic, Chiropractic, chiropractic mission, chiropractic mission trip, chiropractic mission trips, chiropractic missions, chiropractic non profit, chiropractic non profit organization, Chiropractic Nonprofit, chiropractic organization, cocoa ghana, dale breitlow, donation, Ghana, ghana chiropractic, ghana hiv, Ghana volunteer, Hardt Haven, Health, Health mission, HIV, HIV chiropractic, hiv africa, HIV AIDS, innate, J2S, jay breitlow, jean murray, Journey, journey to solidarity, mission chiropractic, non profit chiropractic organization, NonProfit, palmer, palmer college, palmer college of chiropractic, Service, Solidarity, SOS Ghana, tema ghana, volunteer, volunteer ghana, wellness, wellness africa

Jay on October 12, 2009

Posted to journeytosolidarity.org by Dr Jay Breitlow.  Photos courtesy of the author.

Beatrice was once a spry young nurse who was as nimble with her mind in the classroom as she was with her feet in the hospital. She believed in a proper education and quality healthcare, and her family always received both. The respect garnered from doctors, colleagues, and patients was rivaled only by the respect she gave away to those same people. Today, Beatrice is confined to a wheelchair or her bed, and instead of getting up every 3 minutes to check a pulse, blood pressure or take a child’s temperature, she is fortunate to get out of bed three times in one day.

Beatrice at her home in Accra Ghana

Beatrice at her home in Accra Ghana

Four years ago Beatrice was going about her normal routine when she began to feel dizzy, had a headache, and subsequently collapsed on the floor. When she awoke, she found her entire body in the hospital, but only a fragment of her personality remained. Ischemic strokes (caused by inadequate blood supply to the brain) can come with little or no warning and the aftermath often leave its victim and the family, torn at the seams. Now 65 years old, Beatrice can only walk with the assistance from her two daughters, is wearing an adult diaper because she has lost bladder and bowel control, cannot speak or perform coordinated motions, and her cognitive abilities are nearly absent.

I first met Beatrice when her family brought her to a clinic I was volunteering at in Accra Ghana in February 2009. I saw Beatrice on a regular schedule (2-3 times a week), and the progress she was making was on par with that of anybody who is in rehab from a stroke: slow and rarely steady. When I left Ghana in late May, I confess that I didn’t take notice of the fact that Beatrice was not coming into the clinic anymore, which is not uncommon for Ghanaians as they frequently travel to their native villages for days/weeks at a time, and I didn’t think anything of it.

When I returned to Ghana in September, I was able to reconnect with the family and found out that Beatrice was not travelling in May, instead she was further subjected to nature’s torture when she was afflicted with a high fever and swelling in the brain. Although the family was not given a clear diagnosis, it seems that a type of bacterial meningitis, or variation of, is what afflicted her. This attack halted any rehabilitation progress, furthered the paralysis, and created a deeper dependency on her family. The daughters, Akua and Adwoa, told me that what was once a challenging walk from a car to my chiropractic table is all but impossible now; therefore, if she was going to receive care, it had to come directly TO her.

Beatrice and her family with the author

Beatrice and her family with the author

Packing my portable table and handheld adjusting instrument, Beatrice’s two caretakers (aka her care daughters) took me to her house on the outskirts of town. When I first saw her, her steely blue eyes met mine in a familiar stare of recognition, almost like a handshake, indicating that there was still a fire burning deep inside her. She had put on a significant amount of weight since I had last seen her and displayed almost no coordination or cognitive motor control. Her only response, even in an affirmative, was always a slow shake or her head from left to right. She could not stand, speak, or move any part of her body and had completely lost control of her ability to control urination or defecation, hence why she was wearing adult diapers. I performed a series of tests on her, which indicated she could feel, but her reflexes, like her motor control, were not present. With help from her two daughters, who speak wonderful English thanks to their mother’s insistence on a proper education, and her two nieces (who speak no English), we put Beatrice on the table to get her first adjustment in over 4 months. Using an instrument to adjust the depleted, fragile spine, I adjusted the spine, with special attention given to her upper cervical (neck) area.

This is the way Beatrice responds to chiropractic; and it is one of the most dramatic I have seen in my clinical experiences.  Everytime she is adjusted within 5 minutes of her adjustment, no matter where she is, she falls asleep.  Sometimes in the middle of conversation even.  Now her family takes her straight to bed for a 3 hour nap after adjustments.)

This is the way Beatrice responds to chiropractic; and it is one of the most dramatic I have seen in my clinical experiences. Everytime she is adjusted within 5 minutes of her adjustment, no matter where she is, she falls asleep. Sometimes in the middle of conversation even. Now her family takes her straight to bed for a 3 hour nap after adjustments.

The next day I got one of those phone calls that makes you feel oh so good inside. For the first time in months, there were signs of life in Beatrice. Adwoa, the eldest daughter, told me that she was now starting to use her arms and legs and that she was displaying more cognitive ability. I told Adwoa I would see her again the following day, and as often as I could in the future.

Now, twice a week, I catch a taxi thru smog and traffic to see Beatrice. She has made a recovery from the stroke at a rate that I am, frankly, astounded by. Exercises, which were once unfathomable, such as lifting arms in the air and leg lifts, are done several times a day. Her head no longer shakes “no” for every response. Instead she is speaking and communicating with her family and me. Her walking is still very limited and requires assistance, but where hope was once extinguished a torch now burns brightly with potential.

Beatrice wished to provide the world for her children and succeeded in giving it to them. Now her children have given up high paying jobs and stability to care for her. In fact the youngest daughter, Akua, drives over an hour each day to care for her. The lack of resources/portability of health care has not just impacted one life, but in this case five. By your contribution, not only are you making a better life possible for a once spry nurse, but for her children and nieces. I am not suggesting that chiropractic is a cure or substitute for post-stroke treatment; however, in this case it appears that by clearing the nervous system of interference, one person is able to live at a higher level, lighting a flame where darkness once existed. We at J2S have so many amazing stories that are yet to be written. Please help us to continue to write them by contributing today.

Jay on September 22, 2009

Hello, and thank you for joining us on the Journey.
My name is Jay Breitlow and I am a Chiropractor and the Founder/Director of the organization Wellness International Missions, Inc., known as Journey to Solidarity (J2S).  It is important to us that you have considered joining us on the team, whether it is through a monetary tax-free gift, or living in Africa as a missionary.  As there are many options out there as to where your philanthropic gift goes, we believe it’s important you understand where this idea came from, where it’s going, and who is behind it.

About the Founder

Dr. Jay B reitlow

Dr. Jay Breitlow

I was born as the oldest in a tight knit family of four in Madison, Wisconsin. To accommodate my father’s growing ambitions of becoming a High School Principal, our family moved when I was 12 to a suburb of Milwaukee called Wauwatosa.  About midterm of my freshman term at Wauwatosa West High School, my father was shot and killed in the same hallway that I would walk for another three and a half years.  After graduation, to put some geographic distance between the trauma, I decided to attend school out of state, and enrolled at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

After five great years at Purdue I graduated in May of 2002 with a Bachelors of Science in Nuclear Engineering. Out of school I accepted a position as a nuclear fuels engineer with an energy company in Richmond, Virginia.  It was before work started full-time that the travel bug began to bite via a short two-month, 16 country, tour of Europe.  These traveling experiences, and over two years working within corporate America, led me searching internally for something that was a bit “more fitting,”. This meant two things to me; the first was to travel more, and the second was to enroll in Chiropractic school.  Choosing Chiropractic was a bit out of the box for me, but as I looked around, I saw poor health, and spinal degeneration happening right in front of my eyes.  I decided the poor health I saw wasn’t going to happen to me, and there has got to be something I can do to help people like this.

In June of 2004, before beginning the long exciting journey toward becoming a Chiropractor, I traveled the South Pacific for eight glorious and liberating months.  The purpose of the trip at the time was very much self-gratifying, however what I learned about independent travel, religion and culture, shaped much of my future and still fuels my desire to travel as a humanitarian today.

In March 2005 I started Chiropractic school at Palmer College in Davenport, Iowa.  While in school I learned a great deal about not just health, pathology, and how to be a doctor, but also how to balance activities, both volunteering and socially in addition to physically.  Teaching Anatomy and student government was a passion from the start, and a love for the active life blossomed as I was selected as an All-American Endurance Triathlete and 2-time Ironman.  After graduation, Cum Laude, with my Doctorate on October 24th, 2008 I assumed a short-term practice in Fremont, Nebraska for an establish doctor on maternity leave.  As of current, I am the Founder/Director ‘Journey to Solidarity’.

The Birth of J2S:

J2S, as the team is affectionately called, was founded while I was still in school at Palmer College of Chiropractic.  In February of 2008 many students participated in a humanitarian mission trip to Brazil, and I was naturally one of them.  While there, we played with orphans, educated people about how to take care of their bodies, and of course delivered the power of the Adjustment; all of this without taking compensation.  When I returned to school I decided I had to dedicate my life to making experiences like this a permanent thing.  To me, a Chiropractic miracle can occur with one adjustment, however the most powerful results are obtained with consistent long-term care. As far as I know, there are still no organizations out there, besides J2S, which provides sustainable long-term conservative based healthcare/chiropractic.

At the urging of one of my teachers, Dr. Jean Murray, the current J2S Treasurer and one of my most beloved friends, the decision was made to start an organization that could traverse not just oceans, but generations. In our eyes, this needed to be something that could continue in the most impoverished countries, through the most difficult of times without missing a beat.  This meant surrounding ourselves with the most generous and loving of individuals, people with diverse backgrounds.  If you read their bios, you will see that they are each uniquely talented and dedicated to sharing their gifts with the world also.

What we needed were contacts, and through the coordinator of Palmer’s clinic abroad program, Lori Curry, we found them.  The first location of interest for ‘Journey’ was Antsiranana Madagascar, where we were hopeful to pioneer Chiropractic to a country of 20 million people.  That was until January 20th, when political tension and subsequent violence forced us to look elsewhere; three days before the scheduled departure.   Frustrated with forces beyond our control we looked to other locations and other contacts.  As fate would have it, at a seminar in Las Vegas, I randomly met a chiropractor, Dr. Marcus, who has set-up a clinic in Ghana about five years ago and was in need of another doctor for his clinic.  Spending four days a week volunteering in Dr. Marcus’ clinic and three days in the rural areas providing free services the J2S team learned heaps about what it takes to bring a relatively new profession to a country often described as “third world.”

The Future of J2S

The Vision of J2S is centered on the Chiropractic philosophy that “the power that made the body, heals the body.”  That being stated the future approach to our program is very much multifaceted.

Washing clothes near an Ashanti Lake

Washing clothes near an Ashanti Lake

Health/Education: Although we can break health and education down into two areas, they are so intertwined that each is dependent on the other. A chiropractic exam would accompany each individual and a specific adjustment, if needed, is given free of charge.  Although we do accept donations (cents on the dollar) for those people who can and do wish to complete the cycle of giving; these donations are then put directly into schools and health related programs for the community served.  One good turn deserves another and the community is built by the community as they achieve better health.

Each prospective patient receives an in depth explanation about what their health is, what the adjustment is, what a Chiropractor does and how they actually have to take control of their health to live a long and prosperous life.

HIV: Although far from the epicenter of the HIV epidemic, Ghana still has a very serious issue centered on this terrible disease.  Thus programs to educate about the disease, associated stigmas, and how to prevent transmission are all underway.  The impact that Chiropractic has on this disease is also of great importance to the team.

Scholarships: We have set-up a program in which a native African would have the ability to become a licensed Chiropractor and truly sustain the initiatives long into the future.

Mission trips: Currently there is only one long-term chiropractor on site, with a second in the process of joining the team.  Short-term mission trips to Ghana are scheduled for the winter of 2009/10.  Details of the trip will be coming out via email and through the website.

Awareness: Much of what we do is raising awareness that there is a problem in the quality of healthcare and education in many parts of the world.  As the US discusses healthcare to address the current cost and accessibility, know there are parts of the world where people have little, if any, access to healthcare.  In the cases of broken legs or malaria, this means in some cases carrying the patient on foot over 20km.  J2S enables care to come to the front door step for anybody.

Tags: 501c3 chiropractic, africa, africa chiropractic, AIDS, Chiropractic, chiropractic mission, chiropractic mission trip, chiropractic mission trips, chiropractic missions, chiropractic non profit, chiropractic non profit organization, Chiropractic Nonprofit, chiropractic organization, dale breitlow, donation, Ghana, ghana chiropractic, ghana hiv, Ghana volunteer, Hardt Haven, HardtHaven, Health, Health mission, HIV, HIV chiropractic, hiv africa, HIV AIDS, innate, J2S, jay breitlow, jean murray, Journey, journey to solidarity, mission chiropractic, NonProfit, palmer, palmer college, palmer college of chiropractic, Service, Solidarity, volunteer, volunteer ghana, wellness, wellness africa

Jay on August 25, 2009

Journey to Solidarity Wish List

See how little it takes to make a difference

•    Feed a volunteer Chiropractor for one day $4
•    One year supply of pencils for orphanage children $5
•    Toys for orphanage children $10 – $20
•    One week of nutritional supplements for 20 hiv+ children $30
•    Provide a year’s supply of notepads & art supplies for one child $35
•    One year of HIV antiretroviral treatment for one child $60
•    License to practice chiropractic in ghana $100
•    Educational supplies for an entire village school $500
•    Running water & proper sanitation supplies for orphanage $1,200
•    Travel expenses for one chiropractor to provide 6 months of care to those of need in Africa $1,700
•    Permanent lodging comples for three doctors to live on site in Africa $3,150
•    Materials & construction of an outreach Chiropractic clinic for 60,000 local ghanaians $5,000

Boy near a lake in Kumasi

Boy at Lake Bosomtwi in central Ghana

Please consider donating clothing for adults & kids, as well as books & toys.  We are also in need of Diagnostic, Chiropractic & first aid supplies.  Email the team or Director to make a difference today.

Tags: 501c3 chiropractic, africa, africa chiropractic, AIDS, Chiropractic, chiropractic arica, chiropractic mission, chiropractic mission trips, chiropractic missions, chiropractic non profit, chiropractic non profit organization, Chiropractic Nonprofit, donation, Ghana, ghana chiropractic, ghana hiv, Ghana volunteer, Hardt Haven, HardtHaven, Health, Health mission, HIV, HIV chiropractic, hiv africa, HIV AIDS, innate, jay breitlow, Journey, journey to solidarity, NonProfit, Service, Solidarity, volunteer, wellness

Jay on August 10, 2009

Posted to Journeytosolidarity.org by Jay Breitlow. Photos courtesy of the author and Sonjelle Shilton.

Baby Wisdom with classic signs of Malnutrition & tears in his eyes

Baby Wisdom with classic signs of Malnutrition; tears in his eyes

Wisdom was born sometime in mid January 2008, although his exact birth date is unknown as is his birth weight and height. His widow’s peak and high hairline, so characteristic of Ghanaians, points you towards eyes full of life and vigor.  These eyes were not present six months ago when Wisdom was first brought to the HardtHaven Children’s Home.  At that time, this young boy was suffering from Kwashiorkor, a condition caused by lack of protein and general malnutrition.  Among a host of other symptoms with Kwashiorkor, his hair was thin and discolored, the skin patchy and ulcerated, a normally mild temperament was one of irritability, and development was all but nonexistent.

Of particular interest in the case of Wisdom, is that his mother was HIV positive. HIV causes a suppression of the immune system, and when you add on the stunting of physical and mental growth from Kwashiokor, a youngster like Wisdom is living moment-to-moment, which is a very dangerous game of Risk.  Sonjelle, the director of HardtHaven, told us that his health was so bad, that she was not sure that Wisdom was going to last through that first night.

I first met Wisdom in Mid May of 2009, and at that time it appeared to me that I was looking at a child 5-6 months of age.  When I was told he was 15 months, I was shocked.  His weight, his demeanor and development were all dramatically reduced.  Instead of walking or crawling, Wisdom pulled himself across the floor with his hands while his legs dragged behind, not unlike a gorilla.  Mind you Wisdom was otherwise healthy at this point; he was sleeping inside a malaria net every night, getting love and affection, and for prevention of HIV (via mother to child transmission) modern Antiretroviral treatment was being administered.  The only thing that was lacking was a willingness on his part to eat solid food.  This would be a major problem for him soon, developmentally and immunologically, because if he could not ramp up his caloric and protein levels his body could not continue to fight  a good fight against Kwashiorkor.

Wisdom all ready for his first adjustment in May of 2009

Wisdom all ready for his first adjustment in May of 2009

In a previous post this past June, I mentioned how the J2S team spent a weekend adjusting the children at the orphanage, and in that post I mentioned briefly how moved we all were personally by the bonds, love and solidarity that existed on site; the way the children so lovingly invited us into their lives.  In the face of so much adversity, it was one of the happiest places I have had the pleasure to be a part of.

When a chiropractic exam was performed on Wisdom, we noted two areas of particular interest: one in the upper neck/cervical region and one in the pelvic region.  The lower region was adjusted using a technique that specifically targets the ileocecal value and often stimulates defecation/eating or vice versa when the symptoms are reversed.

The next morning, back at home in Accra (3 hours south of the orphanage), when I woke up to instant coffee (a Ghanaian staple) and fruit, I also had a phone call from Sonjelle.  Not only did Sonjelle want to thank Dr. Hunter and me for our time, she wanted to share with me the nearly instant changes that Wisdom was exhibiting.  His actions seemed much more intent, focused if you will.  Perhaps the biggest miracle of all is that he was taking solid food.  For the first time in his young life, plantains, rice and wakye (a rice-like local starch) was being ingested like it was his last meal.

Wisdoms weight log...

Wisdoms weight log...

Two month later, when Sonjelle and I were speaking about his changes, she told me how he was now pooping 4-5 times a day and eating more than any of the other children.  He was now speaking small words and thankfully no longer pulling himself around; with help from some of the older children he was walking.  This little guy wasn’t exactly a beefcake yet, but there was little doubt he was becoming a more “normal” baby.  In 6 weeks’ time, his weight went from 16 pounds to nearly 20 pounds.  Dramatic when you consider that in the previous 14 weeks he had only managed to put on 2 pounds.

I am not suggesting that chiropractic is the only factor that is affecting his improved health; however, I do believe that a nervous system, once free of interference, is better able to fight disease and infection and thus properly develop.   Chiropractic is a gift that millions of people around the world have utilized in their own healthy lives, and to support this, evidence exists both anecdotal, as in the case of Wisdom, and in research literature.  What we wish to accomplish is to bridge the gap between those who can and cannot afford care, so that thousands of adults and children like Wisdom, both HIV positive and HIV free, can live a life of optimal potential.

A recent photo of Wisdom (Black shirt) with Christopher, both are in dire need or sustained care

A recent photo of Wisdom (Black shirt) with Christopher, both are in dire need of sustained care

The Journey to Solidarity team wishes to bring this miracle to the world, but we need your help today.  We are aware that it is summer time and funds are tight, but our funds are also extremely limited.  We are hoping to send a Chiropractor to Ghana in Fall/September to work directly with a) HardtHaven Children’s Home and b) thousands of people living rurally in village around the country.  With both demographics we are implementing wellness, education, and HIV prevention programs to supplement the health care, thus enabling people to take direct control of their lives.  Please donate today and feel free to email or call anyone on the team with any questions.  Your support is vital to the cause and bringing healthcare to the world.

Tags: 501c3 chiropractic, africa, africa chiropractic, AIDS, Chiropractic, chiropractic arica, chiropractic mission, chiropractic mission trips, chiropractic missions, chiropractic non profit, chiropractic non profit organization, Chiropractic Nonprofit, donation, Ghana, ghana chiropractic, ghana hiv, Ghana volunteer, Hardt Haven, HardtHaven, Health, Health mission, HIV, HIV chiropractic, hiv africa, HIV AIDS, innate, jay breitlow, Journey, journey to solidarity, NonProfit, Service, Solidarity, volunteer, wellness

BOARD on August 5, 2009

Chiropractic Explained

When Dr. Jay Breitlow traveled to Ghana, he met an extraordinary person and Chiropractor from Canada in Dr. Robert Champagne.  The two doctors hit it off from the start and adjusted everyone they could get their hands on, but they also explained Chiropractic to all those who would listen.  Dr. Robert is the Director of a Chiropractic charity in Canada with a vision and mission very similar to J2S, and their definition of Chiropractic hits it square on.  Without further ado, this is Chiropractic defined, plain and simple, by Dr. Robert; straight from the “Chiropractic for the World” website.

Why chiropractic care?

You were born to be healthy! Your body is a self-healing organism. Your brain controls and directs all parts of your body. Your brain is connected to your body through your nervous system, which is made up of your spinal cord and nerves. Your brain makes sure that your lungs breathe, your heart beats, your muscles flex, your immune system functions, etc. Life energy flows from your brain to all parts of your body.

Health is the ability to successfully adapt to stresses in your everyday life. Stresses can be physical, chemical or mental/emotional. Health is the natural result of the adequate expression of your life energy in your body. The amount of food and water necessary to simply stay alive is different than what is needed to be healthy. Likewise, the amount of life energy to simply stay alive is different than what is needed to be truly healthy.

Disorganization of your life energy = dis-ease.

Organization of your life energy = harmonyhealth.

Three things are needed to maximize the expression of life energy in your body to help you keep growing stronger and healthier.

1. Positive focus in life.

2. Healthy lifestyle (Proper diet, exercise and rest)

3. Clear connection between body and brain.

Your body is constantly changing every moment you are alive! There are only two ways that your body can change in any moment: you can either get a little STRONGER, or get a little WEAKER. For example, if you exercise, you get stronger… if you don’t exercise, you get weaker.

Explaining Chiropractic to Father Moses

Dr. Robert (with Dr. Jay) explaining Chiropractic to Father Moses

If you eat good healthy food, you grow stronger… If you eat junk food, you get weaker. If you have happy, healthy thoughts, you get stronger… If you only have negative, angry thoughts, you get weaker. Remember that your brain controls and directs all parts of your body. Nothing in the body works unless it is connected to your brain. Therefore, if your spine is misaligned and putting pressure on the nerves, this reduces the life energy flow to your body, making you grow weaker… spinal adjustments increase the life energy and you get stronger. Overall, our goal is to have you become a little stronger at the end of every day.

As you express higher and higher levels of life energy in your body, you move toward health, wellness, and wholeness! To have a clear connection between your brain and body, you need a well-aligned and functioning spine. Misalignment of the spine (unbalanced spine) causes a loss of connection and a decrease in the expression of life energy. Specific chiropractic adjustments restore the connection between brain and body. This restores the flow of life energy. Every chiropractic adjustment is part of the healing process. Every adjustment builds on the next one. Healing is any movement towards increasing your body’s expression of life energy.  Therefore even only one adjustment will make a difference.

WELCOME TO CHIROPRACTIC!

WELCOME TO LIFE!

Tags: 501c3 chiropractic, africa, africa chiropractic, AIDS, Chiropractic, chiropractic mission, chiropractic mission trips, chiropractic missions, chiropractic non profit, chiropractic non profit organization, Chiropractic Nonprofit, donation, Ghana, ghana chiropractic, Ghana volunteer, HardtHaven, Health, Health mission, HIV, HIV AIDS, innate, jay breitlow, Journey, journey to solidarity, NonProfit, Service, Solidarity, volunteer, wellness

Jay on July 20, 2009

Published at www.journeytosolidarity.org by Jay Breitlow, unless noted, photos and content courtesy of the author.

A good friend of mine who lives in New Jersey phoned me a few weeks ago to talk about my experiences in Africa and to find out what on earth I’d been up to over there. After a few minutes of chit-chat, I realized that I was telling her stuff that was mostly online, right here, so I asked her, “Jeanne, when was the last time you were on the website?” She confided in me that while she loved what J2S was doing in Ghana and could appreciate the value in it; it depressed to read the stories, as it was sometimes a bit too much reality, to the point she felt guilty about the relative life of luxury we are afforded here in North America. “So Jay, why and how do you do it?”

HIV viewed through an electron microscope.  (source: Stockxpert.com)

HIV viewed through an electron microscope. (source: Stockxpert.com)

To that end, I want to answer a few questions that seem to be on the cusp of many conversations, not just this one with Jeanne, “Why HIV, why Africa, and can Chiropractic help?” There is need at home right? So, why not work in, ohhh say Miami or Sacramento? Why not a less transferrable disease or less deadly one? If there is no cure for HIV, and all these millions of dollars being pumped into research, how does one set of hands, with no medicine help? Here are the answers from my perspective, and one great testimonial from an HIV patient.

If you were to look at the disease under an electron microscope, it just looks scary. In photos it looks like a spiky ball of death and fury; complete with claws, fangs, bad temper and a heinous “wicked witch of the west” cackle. I’m fairly certain Jeanne is wincing at the photo right now and wanting to switch on So You Think You Can Dance instead, but this is the reality, this virus is the perfect killing machine. According to the book 28 by Stephanie Nolen, (the book is named 28 in honor of the 28 million people in Africa infected with HIV today) a single drop of blood contains 100 million HIV viruses, each one ready to Velcro itself to another host cell where it will invade, commandeer, and replicate 10,000 other viruses just like itself.

Scared yet? Well, the body is strong and is able to mount a response. Even though the brain, pancreas, muscles and bones are all swimming in the stuff, the human response is to fight the disease by creating new “Killer T-cells.” Here starts the inevitable tug of war: the body fights back but the HIV mutates so it isn’t recognized. The “T-cells” adapt and start punting these mutations just in time for the virus to mutate again. This happens over and over, until eventually the immune system succumbs, not to the virus itself but to another normally “treatable” illness, like a cold or pneumonia. The scariest part of all is that the disease seems to be in total control; as if conducting an impetuous and catastrophic orchestra, it lets the immune system win enough battles for the human host to seem healthy for many years. Evolutionists marvel as the virus lets its heedless victim live long enough to allow this deadly convoy to proceed to the next host.

Western school of thought is often to assume that the victims of HIV are drug users, prostitutes, or over-promiscuous lovers. While this preconception holds true for a certain percentage of the population, there is a separate inconceivable truth for others. The virus chooses its hosts irrespective of their merit, and wives who’ve been betrayed by their one lover, families misled/abused by government, children born into a life which will be forever devoid of health, or a young, sexually abused, orphaned girl just trying to put bread on the table are all just as likely to be infected.

Source: UNAIDS 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidemic

Source: UNAIDS 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidemic

Millions of dollars are poured into research for HIV vaccines, antiretroviral treatment (ARVT) and education programs; and each of these areas has its own pros and varying degrees of success. Arguments can be made from people from all walks of life that one concentration is more important than another, but what is shown to be true is that HIV is still killing people. For every successful educational program to reach a village, there are a hundred truck drivers out there that believe it’s their cultural right to have unprotected sex with a different woman each night. For each successful ARVT treatment, there is a different viral permutation that takes place, and for vaccines, well I’d rather not even get into vaccines. So, what right does a Chiropractor have to jump into the HIV arena? The answer lies inside all of us, the neuro-immune response.

Not one child will be left on the outside looking in for the J2S team..

Not one child will be left on the outside looking in.

Chiropractors specialize in the nervous system. By looking to the spine and removing interference, the brain is able to properly communicate with the entire body through spinal and cranial nerves. When the nervous system is operating to the best of its ability, the immune system is afforded that same opportunity, subsequently fighting infection and disease (***Please read below for medical jargon and references about how the innate immune response affects infection). “Can a chiropractor “cure” disease or illness?” is an entirely separate question to “can an optimized immune system help the body better fight disease?” to which I would argue that the adjustment is vital towards an optimized neuro-immune response. Which brings me to children born with HIV…

Every hour around the world, around 31 children die as a result of AIDS and an overwhelming majority of these children– approximately 9 out of 10 – live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Coincidentally enough, nearly that same number, about 90%, of all children living with HIV acquired the infection from their mothers during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding (REF1). Aside from mother-to-child transmission, the remaining 10% of children are exposed to HIV in medical settings; for instance, through needles that have not been sterilized or blood transfusions where infected blood is used. These children were never given a chance, never was a question asked for them to make a choice about their lives; they were, instead, born into a life of disease and turmoil.

At HardtHaven, the early signs of infection are in plain view.

At HardtHaven, the early signs of infection are in plain view.

Yet, there is hope for many of these children. If HIV is detected in the early weeks, ARVT treatment can commence, proper precautions and programs can be initiated and a child born of an HIV positive parent doesn’t have to live a life of destituteness. This is where J2S comes in. If a child is fighting disease from the start and given treatment his body is stressed to the max. Wayne, a good friend of mine who is HIV positive, mentions how sometimes the side effects of these drugs make him wonder if it’s all really worth it. Fat is redistributed through the body, joints are attacked and if he misses a scheduled treatment time by and hour or two, then the virus starts to mutate again. Does ARVT stress the nervous system and subsequently the immune response? You betcha. I asked Wayne if he thought Chiropractic would be able to help these HIV kids, and this was his response:

“My biggest surprise in coming (to see a chiropractor) has been how much better I’ve felt. I was in a cane and wheelchair before care, and now I’m walking around. The tangible differences are so much more. I believe my care allows me to better tolerate the ARVT drugs and fight this thing. Symptoms that were always present, I have less often. Now the formulations infrequently change, and my dosage is staying the same [meaning the virus is mutating less often and less dramatically]. Not only am I having mobility increases, but also having better clarity of thought and mind. It is almost as if I am resonating on a higher frequency. Something inside me is different; I can feel it. Oh yeah, and all that other chiropractic stuff– low back and neck pain– well, that speaks for itself.”

This is why Africa; this is why HIV and this is how you, yes YOU, can make a difference TODAY. In September, the first steps will be taken to research (and publish in peer reviewed journals) just how far reaching specific chiropractic care can go in boosting the immune system of children born with HIV. Not all these young orphans, and there are about 30 of them, that I will work with on a daily basis will have to live with HIV, but most will. Your contribution makes all the difference to these children; even Jeanne glued to So You Think You Can Dance at home has made a difference. Please donate to Journey to Solidarity today.

***The neuroimmune response is characterized by a bi-directional communication between peripheral immune cells and the central nervous system. Of particular importance during times of infection is the activation of the centrally mediated febrile and corticosterone responses, which aid the innate immune system in the effective clearance of the pathogen while limiting the extent of inflammatory damage (Schobitz et al. 1994; Jiang et al. 1999). Inhibition of these innate immune responses has been shown to significantly affect the morbidity and mortality with infection (Kluger et al. 1998; Jiang et al. 2000; Nadeau & Rivest, 2003).

(Taken from Ellis et al, “Neonatal programming of the rat neuroimmune response: stimulus specific changes elicited by bacterial and viral mimetics” The Journal of Physiology,15 March 2006: 571, 695-701.)

Viewable online at http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v9n2/abs/nn1629.html

Reference1

http://www.unaids.org/en/KnowledgeCentre/HIVData/GlobalReport/2008/2008_Global_report.asp

Tags: 501c3 chiropractic, africa, africa chiropractic, AIDS, Chiropractic, chiropractic arica, chiropractic mission, chiropractic mission trips, chiropractic missions, chiropractic non profit, chiropractic non profit organization, Chiropractic Nonprofit, donation, Ghana, ghana chiropractic, ghana hiv, Ghana volunteer, Hardt Haven, HardtHaven, Health, Health mission, HIV, HIV chiropractic, hiv africa, HIV AIDS, innate, jay breitlow, Journey, journey to solidarity, NonProfit, Service, Solidarity, volunteer, wellness

BOARD on June 29, 2009

Updated to journeytosolidarity.org by Jay Breitlow.  Photos courtesy of the author

Isreal at HardtHaven in May 2009

Isreal at HardtHaven in May 2009

After spending the North American winter in balmy Ghana, we learned a great deal about what it takes to operate a Non-profit Organization in Africa. At any one time, Dr. Breitlow was facing cultural boundaries, language barriers, organizational challenges and the ever-present question:“What’s next?” What was very clear from the start is that the language and cultural barrier existed only to be broken down by a friendly smile and “whoo hootesen” (Ghanaian for hello, how are you). The people were always so wonderful and helpful that we may have been brothers and/or sisters our entire mortal lives. What was more challenging was giving flight to a new, fledging organization, bringing our resources to the people while using our funds wisely and diligently.

Many hours were spent meditating on different ideas. Hundreds of hands were pressed looking for the “right” opportunity. Board meetings proceeded looking for new locations and countries. Finally, in the last fortnight of J2S’s time in Ghana, the missing puzzle piece slid expertly into place and an exciting, nascent partnership with HardtHaven Children’s home was born. If you missed the read, you may catch the June 1st post by clicking here. In short it was a marvelous opportunity and symbiotic for not just HardtHaven and J2S, but also for the children, volunteers and doctors who were present. Since the departure from Ghana a few weeks ago, much has transpired to bring J2S, Chiropractic and wellness to Ghana. Without further ado here is where the flight appears to be en route.

With unanimous and animated board approval in hand, Journey to Solidarity is headed back to Ghana.

Kpando is located near the city of Ho.  Dist via Wikipedia GNU image license

Kpando is located near the city of Ho. Dist via Wikipedia GNU image license

In the beginning most of the adjusting and networking was done in Southern Ghana in the capital city of Accra. “Round two” in Ghana will touchdown in Kpando at the HardtHaven (HH) children’s orphanage, where an overwhelming majority of the orphaned children are born with HIV/AIDS.

Kpando is situated between the eastern shores of Lake Volta and the Western border of neighboring Togo. The East Volta region is known for its remote location, its rugged yet lush terrain and friendly, neighborly people. It is also one of the poorest and most undeveloped parts of Ghana and West Africa. To say there is a need for healthcare, education and infrastructure is a gross understatement.

The GOAL

Journey to Solidarity, in partnership with HardtHaven children’s home, has a vision for one doctor to reside permanently within the HardtHaven facility; thus, providing primary Chiropractic care, health, hygiene and education to nearly 30 sponsored orphans, dozens of HIV+ adults and thousands of local non HIV+ Ghanaians. The doctor, while providing the tools necessary to break the cycle of poverty and perhaps HIV/AIDS, will simultaneously begin gathering data for case study research.

The research is for “case study” publishing – focusing on tracking HIV+ children’s “CD4 counts.” CD4 counts are the primary measurable statistic to measure the health of the immune system, and this new partnership proposes to monitor how it changes once under consistent Chiropractic care. A CD4 count acts as a translucent window into the body’s immune system, and if you are not a Chiropractor reading this, you may not know how strong the neuroimmune response is in humans.

Jessica, a regular Volunteer at HardtHaven, introduced J2S to the Kpando area

Jessica, a regular Volunteer at HardtHaven, introduced J2S to the Kpando area

There is something that is inherent in each of us called the neuroimmune system. This is exactly what it sounds like, a relationship between your nervous system and your immune system. When these two systems talk to each other and communicate properly, the body is in better position to win battles against micro-organisms. When the conversation is weak or interrupted, that is when trouble occurs. Just think of a conversation on the telephone. If you schedule a meeting for 1:30 on the phone, but the other person hears 2:30, that potentially affects the results of the meeting, and perhaps the remainder of your week. Your body is no different, and as specialists in the nervous system, chiropractors make sure that the neroimmune system is clearly communicating.

Does HIV/AIDS affect the immune system? You betcha. Does the nervous system affect the immune system? You betcha. Will chiropractic give young children born with HIV a chance to live a life of more optimal potential? This we will find out.

We need Help

We are officially a 501(c)(3) public non-profit charity; therefore, your contributions to J2S are tax deductible to the extent allowed by the Internal Revenue Service. Even though we at J2S have submitted a grant proposal to help offset some of the costs of this project, there is always more work to be done. There are a total of three doctors who are prospectively involved in the project, Dr. Jay Breitlow, Dr. Christina Hunter and an as of yet unnamed Chiropractor.

J2S needs to fund anti-retroviral treatment therapy for the children as well as testing kits and first aid. HardtHaven is running out of room and to that end are aggressively expanding the house, so there is a need to provide housing for the doctors as well. Past experience shows that the children respond very well once given protein supplementation; therefore, there is a desire to provide whey and soy based protein drinks from America. Communication is key, and although limited, we need money to provide updates to our donors and grant providers back in America

Please be generous with your gifts and know that it is going to a worthy cause; it is changing lives. Today your gift, irrespective of size, will traverse an ocean and last beyond this lifetime.

Tags: 501c3 chiropractic, africa, africa chiropractic, AIDS, Chiropractic, chiropractic mission, chiropractic mission trips, chiropractic missions, chiropractic non profit, chiropractic non profit organization, Chiropractic Nonprofit, donation, Ghana, ghana chiropractic, Ghana volunteer, Hardt Haven, HardtHaven, Health, Health mission, HIV, HIV AIDS, innate, jay breitlow, Journey, journey to solidarity, NonProfit, Service, Solidarity, volunteer, wellness

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