COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Upper Arlington High School senior lacrosse player, Paige Wilmer completed a life-altering Mission Trip last summer when she and her family helped orphaned children in Uganda, Africa. Restoration Gateway is situated along the Nile River, and it serves as a home for 160 orphan children.
“All of them have lost their parents due to the war or disease, and in some cases due to abandonment…it definitely humbled me…all of them there, they don’t have anything compared to what we have here,” said Wilmer.
The Wilmer family stepped off the bus at Restoration Gateway greeted by excited children as they unloaded 20 bags worth of donations they collected here in Columbus.
“She found out that a lot of these kids have suffered extreme atrocities in their life, you know that most kids in Upper Arlington have never been exposed to,” said Paige’s mother, Jenny. Jenny is a registered nurse, and Paige’s father, Bill, is also a medical doctor. They also volunteered at the medical clinic in Uganda.
“Basically we saw things at the medical clinic that I just studied for one time in medical school and thought I would never see in real life,” said Dr. Wilmer.
The Wilmer family treated an 8 year old boy named Christopher, who was dying from hemolytic anemia from malaria.
“Eventually we had to take him through a back of a pick-up truck to another hospital hours and hours away for him to get transfused, while we were there our kids were there, and we really didn’t know if he was going to make it,” said Dr. Wilmer.
However, thanks to the Wilmer family, the boy survived.
At Restoration Gateway, Paige and her two siblings played games with the orphans, taught them how to play American football, and allowed them to play with their phones.
“They’re definitely intrigued by our phones, so we’d let them take our phones for like an hour and they’d take picture, and they love the slo-motion videos,” said Paige.
“They take every day for what it’s worth, and they get the most out of every day and in part because in their lives there may not be a tomorrow, yes because death is so prevalent,” said Dr. and Mrs. Wilmer.
“I feel like I took things for granted, even a hot shower, they didn’t even have there…I feel more selfless, I want to give back to the community, more and just put others before myself,” said Paige.
To find out more about Restoration Gateway, how to get involved, or donate, visit their website: restorationgateway.org