Just recently I read on Rosalie Klein's Facebook that Kiki Arendt of CAS Animal Sanctuary in Aruba is in need of an urgent surgery which has to be done in Colombia. Therefore, there is a call for donations. Some made already a donation, including my husband and me. But there is still a long way to go.
Here is an excerpt from her FB:
Donations are desperately needed to help Kiki of Cas Animal get to Colombia for emergency surgery. If any wish to help, contact Sarita at the number listed below. According to Dr. Vallejo, it is a life and death situation, and he has decided to accompany her to Bogota, he is that concerned
A call to all supporters of Cas Animal
donations are desperately needed to get Kiki to Colombia for an important surgery. She was operated on two weeks ago, but unfortunately, they could not remove the tumor in her neck entirely, some was too attached to her spinal cord.
She has been trying get AZV to cover her costs of going to Colombia for a special surgery, which her neurosurgeon has arranged, but unfortunately, her Aruban papers were destroyed when her car was stolen last year, and everything has become very complicated.
On Sunday, she lost all feeling in her legs and collapsed, and was taken back to the hospital on Aruba. She has obtained travel papers with which she can go to Colombia, but the operation is $10,000 and the plane fare another $1,000.
She had to pay the hospital in Aruba thousands of florins and her resources are depleted. AT this point, her doctor is concerned that the tumor will interfere with her ability to breathe.
Contraras Vet Clinic is donating $1,000 towards her trip to Colombia, Sarita of Gemstones has pledged $2,000 and we thank Gabriela Smith and her husband Bob for their very generous donation of $200.
If anyone wishes to assist in helping us get Kiki to Colombia for this desperately needed medical procedure, please contact Sarita at 564-9265 to make a donation. We need to accumulate $8,000 as quickly as possible.
If anyone knows of any other way in which they can help, please contact us as well.
Here is an update on Kiki. What an unbelievable story! It brought tears to my eyes as it shows once again how wonderful, caring and loving people are, on Aruba and beyond.
Aruba Foundation Cas Animal Sanctuary
Nearly a month ago we began reporting on the sad news the Kirsten, known as "Kiki" to her friends, was laid low by a tumor pressing on her spine, just where her neck meets her skull. Because of the location, it affected her mobility from the neck down, paralyzing her legs and greatly reducing the use of her arms and hands, even interfering with her ability to breathe.
The story of Kiki, and her need for a specialized surgical procedure to fully remove the thankfully non-malignant tumor, became a saga complicated by an unfortunate series of events. Kiki, a German citizen who settled on Aruba 16 years ago with retiree status, lost her passport, permit and other important papers when her car was stolen by joyriders over 18 months ago. The perpetrators emptied them from her glove compartment and burned them. Though attempts were made to get new ones, these things normally progress at a very slow rate in the islands.
Most islanders are covered by the national medical insurance, AZV, but Kiki's father maintained a health policy for her out of Germany, for which she became ineligible in January, having lived out of the country for too long. AZV would not cover her without the proper papers proving her a legitimate resident of Aruba, which is only reasonable. When trying to obtain the form from the Census office confirming her legal residency, they could find no record of her in their databases; she is not the only person to whom this has happened, but unfortunately for Kiki, this snafu could not have come at a worse time. This left her to pay all her medical expenses out-of-pocket. An initial surgical procedure and hospital stay, with MRI and medications and doctors fee, wiped out all her persona reserves, and she does not wish to touch the foundation funds which are targeted for constructing Aruba's first no-kill dog shelter. Ironically, just when this medical emergency hit, Kiki had finally received the permits to begin, and was readying to break ground.
The initial surgery revealed that the tumor pressing against Kiki's spine could only be removed by a most delicate operation with a "gamma knife," for which she had to travel to Bogota, Colombia. Since the medical insurance could not cover the costs, and Kiki needed to travel as soon as possible, the outlook was bleak.
However, this is a story of the triumph of the human spirit, and affirmation of the basic goodness of people, as well as a demonstration of appreciation for the work that Kiki does to save Aruba's mistreated dogs, and a confirmation by how many believe in her ultimate goal: a proper sanctuary for them.
A call went out in TMN and on the CAS ANIMAL Facebook page for assistance in Kiki's current situation. Elvis Weert, newscaster for TV Channel 22 Aruba, was always a strong supporter of the foundation's purpose, and made sure to feature an interview with Kiki recounting her desperate plight, on their featured news program. Within two days, the money needed for the operation in Bogota, plane tickets to and from Colombia, were donated by caring people, many who have been assisted by Kiki in the past. Aside from saving dogs, she also maintains an Animal Ambulance for those who had no means to transport their dogs to the vet, or helped those who wished to leave Aruba with a street dog that had won their hearts.
Every day people became heroes, joining together to make every effort to see that Kiki would get the surgery she needed. Sarita Ramdas of Gemstones International dug deep into her own pockets, and organized all the other donations that came pouring in. She also burned up the phone lines back and forth between Bogota, making arrangements with the clinic where the operation would take place.
Bhardi, the owner of Palais Oriental store on Caya G.F. Betico Croes, was one of the first to give a donation, and then rallied other shop owners to donate. When the money was acquired, she gave her most trusted employee, Rosalba, who is originally from Bogota, a week's vacation to travel to Colombia with Kiki and stay with her through the procedure and act as translator.
Great thanks go to Landa Henriquez, the German Council for Aruba. Her constant efforts spurred the Governor's office to issue Kiki a temporary Dutch passport allowing her to travel, and she was constantly in touch with German officials so Kiki take advantage of her presence in Colombia to obtain a new passport through the German Embassy in Bogota.
Steadfastly at her side through all this were Gilbert and his mother Jacqueline, who ran all the vital errands for Kiki to stay alive while waiting to go to Colombia, as well as feeding and caring for all the dogs the foundation had taken in. They are also dog lovers and maintain a sanctuary called Happy Tails, where they also board dogs and give obedience lessons. Gilbert and Jacqueline took Kiki to the doctor, the hospital, got her prescriptions filled, and Jacqueline, a retired nurse, gave her the very necessary shots to control edema and swelling, where were steadily paralyzing Kiki more and more as the surgery was delayed. They were the ones who ran to all the government offices to pick up her papers or to get her plane tickets to Colombia.
Finally, the day arrived on Wednesday, May 15, for Kiki to depart, however, it was not to be. When arriving at the airport, the commercial airline refused to take her onboard without a specialized oxygen tank that only they could provide. This required a complex process to obtain, and would take at least an additional 48 hours to arrive on Aruba, after which new reservations could then be made to travel. The surgical procedure had already been scheduled for Friday, May 17, and Kiki would not make it with this final obstacle placed in her path.
The final hero of this tale is Alejandro Muyale, CEO of Tiara Air Aruba, who was contacted by Kiki's friends, who were absolutely desperate at this point. Alejandro rose to the occasion, arranging for Kiki and her companion to use be transported to Colombia the very next day via the Tiara Air Aruba Air Ambulance. He completely sympathized with the situation, deferring payment until a later time, without question, as it was becoming a life and death situation. Each day Kiki woke to find she was losing more and more control over her body, the condition threatening to stop her breathing or her heart.
Kiki flew to Bogota on Thursday, May 16. Friday's operation lasted nearly 8 hours, and doctors describe it as "very delicate and exhausting," but they removed all of the tumor pressing on her spine. They are very optimistic. She is scheduled to leave the ICU today, and return to medium care, a good sign.
Kiki's only thought before boarding the plane for Colombia was to see that all the dogs she has taken in and cared for would be protected. "I don't care if I die, or if I am left a paraplegic by this, as long as I see the shelter built and the dogs safe and in a proper place," she told her friends before departing; she had made arrangements to see this done.
Contreras Veterinary Clinic in Shaba works closing with Kiki in treating the dogs she rescues; they made a substantial donation to her traveling to Bogota. Anyone wishing to assist Cas Animal foundation in continuing its work by making a donation can help by paying on their account at the clinic, which still has a substantial balance due. Contact them at telephone number: 587-0987 to make a donation. Donations can be made directly to the foundation via their bank account at the CMB Bank account # 25762110. Donations can also be made to Happy Tales to help pay for the feeding and veterinary costs of the more than 30 dogs under Cas Animal protection; contact them by calling 587-4197 or 565-2130.
It is always heartbreaking to see a vital, dynamic person cut down by a serious physical ailment, particularly when that person continually strives for a worthy cause. All dog lovers know how canines are so often mistreated, or when abandoned, dismissed by the community. Kiki loved every single dog in her care with all her heart, particularly those the were "un-adoptable" and made physically ugly by the abuse heaped upon them. Those were the ones dearest to her heart. THE MORNING NEWS will keep her supporters posted on her progress and the outcome of the operation as soon as we get news from her doctors.