Saving Sudan from a hospital bed: Advocate creates clinic while at Mary Free Bed

Posted at 4:57 PM, Oct 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 16:57:53-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Three strokes in just five days are not slowing down a West Michigan man’s mission to help people thousands of miles away.

We first bought you David Bowman's story back in 2015 when a film about his Sudanese sons and his journeys to the country first came out. Since then Bowman has not stopped helping the country, even after suffering from some major health complications.

Bowman just learned to walk again. It was in July that he suffered those three strokes over the course of five days.

"Now he's focused on his rehabilitation obviously here at Mary Free Bed. It's a big thing for him to be able to walk, he wants to be able to get out and make those connections again," said David's son Stuart Bowman.

But, that hasn't slowed this advocate down. The 81-year-old still calls the shots on his missionary work in South Sudan.

"One of our next stops as a board is maybe another clinic. I think we could open a clinic but Stuart needs to and check it out," says David Bowman.

You might remember "The Lost Boys of Sudan,"  a movie about Bowman and the five refugee Sudanese boys he adopted back in 2000.

After the adoption, Bowman started making trips to Sudan and started Partners in Compassionate Care, an organization that built a hospital and four clinics in the region.

When his health took a turn in July he feared it would slow him down. but it did not.

"He just pushes forward and continues and you know it's been a struggle with the emails and things like that. But, ya know the walking he's working on, he's accomplished so it's just, I can't say enough about him. He's been inspiring to me for many years," says Stuart.

He recently met with the governor of Sudan while in rehab at Mary Free Bed, coming up with solutions on bringing peace to the nation.

Now, with the help of Stuart, he's taking up a new task: providing 500 cataract surgeries to a village there.

"I want my kids and grandkids to remember that it's about others. When they were pulling me out of the CT machine here I looked up at the thing spinning and I thought 'Wow that just took a picture of my brain,'and I started to cry. Because my mind goes to South Sudan; we have so much, they have so little. I'm not happy about that," says David.

Stuart is heading back to Sudan in November for the cataract surgeries and to help rescue refugees caught in the crossfire of ongoing civil war. David is set to graduate from rehab this month and says he hopes to get back to Sudan as soon as he can. To find out more about their work with Partners in Compassionate Care stop by this link.