On the Radio…

The 16th – 22nd November are Leprosy Awareness week, and our CEO, Ken Gibson, had the opportunity to share a daily reflection, a “Living Word” on RTE Radio 1, Ireland’s most listened-to radio station. According to the radio’s website, these are in the spirit of the old traditions of Matins and Compline, early morning and late night prayer and contemplation, and are played at 6:15am (early morning) and 12:58am (after midnight).

He focusses on the life of one of the heroes of the last few decades of medical practice and Leprosy care and rehabilitation, Dr. Paul Brand. In particular, Brand was gifted at insightful surgical techniques, such as tendon transfer surgeries that allowed hands, clawed and misshapen as a result of long-term Leprosy infection, to be restored to function again. His wife, Dr. Margaret Brand, was an adept eye surgeon whose revolutionary techniques gave patients back the hope of sight.

The Brands were also among the first doctors to recognise that the characteristic damage to limbs caused by Leprosy, is not a result of the bacteria “eating” the flesh away, as was commonly thought at the time, but instead a secondary effect. The bacteria cause a loss of sensation in affected tissues; this then results in injuries going unnoticed and dangerous infections occurring, which is what leads to eventual loss of limbs.

Paul Brand, therefore, had a particular, and one could say unusual, appreciation for the positive purpose of the sensation of pain.

  The Radio Reflections…


Guinea Worm – Monday 16th November

Jesse Brand, a young missionary in the mountains of India, bent over the leg of a young boy. His son Paul – just a boy himself – watched in horrified fascination. His father tugged at a tiny protrusion on the boy’s skin. Leaning forward, Paul looked closely and saw that the dark brown thing was the head of a worm. His dad was pulling a worm out of the boy’s skin…

Read transcript   |    Listen online

The Giant of Paul Brand – Tuesday 17th November

Paul believed that all people – even those rejected by society, disabled and disfigured by leprosy – are created in God’s image. He was prepared to walk against the tide to ensure that men, women and children who suffered from the world’s oldest known communicable disease could live with hope and dignity. He faced the sobering knowledge that no one cared about leprosy…

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The Disease of Being Unwanted – Wednesday 18th November

Mother Teresa, an icon of Christian compassion, once said: “we have drugs for people with diseases like leprosy. But these drugs do not treat the main problem, the disease of being unwanted.” 60 years ago, Dr. Paul Brand began to treat leprosy patients in the shabby annex on the side of the hospital where he worked in India. His work had to be shrouded in secrecy. Nobody… not even caring medical staff… wanted leprosy patients near the hospital…

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The Puzzle of Pain – Thursday 19th November

Dr. Brand came to realize that pain is a gift, not a curse. Pain, perhaps ironically, reflects the very wisdom of the Creator. As a medical doctor and surgeon, Dr. Brand saw a lot of pain. As a young boy he swore never to be a Doctor but to run from pain and live in comfort. But his life experience and God’s hand upon his life changed everything. In his study of the human body, he got a glimpse of the Creator’s wisdom….

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New E-book: The Giant who Walked on Elephant Hill…

If you want to find out more about Paul and Margaret Brand, you might be interested in our latest release, the Kindle e-book version of Ken Gibson’s biography of the Brands and their achievements, The Giant who Walked on Elephant Hill… From the Description: It’s called “Karigiri”. Translated from the local language, Tamil, it means “Elephant Hill”. Essentially, it’s a rock, shaped like an Elephant. A giant once walked on that hill: not a giant towering inches above all other people. This was a giant in intellect, faith, character, compassion, vision, determination with an insatiable quest for knowledge. That giant was called Paul Brand…

  Buy Book from Amazon – €9.99

Radio Cover Photo: By Gregory F. Maxwell PGP:0xB0413BFA [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons;
Children: By Rafael Robles [CC-BY-2.0];
Mother Teresa: By Manfredo Ferrari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons;
Drawing pins: By Coldbolt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons