The Lake Highlands-based author of a fundraising children’s book, “Cinco the Clinic Cat,” aka “Cinco, el Gato de la Clinica,” informs us she’s published a 10th anniversary edition. Sales initially benefitted a medical center in La Ceiba, Honduras on which (along with the feline who lived there) the book was based.
“The Episcopal clinic that the book is based on is self sufficient now,” author Carol Brickell says. “So in recent years I’ve been giving proceeds to Clinica Esperanza which is in Honduras in the island of Roatan. I had met Nurse Peggy when I was in Honduras and she runs Esperanza.”
Artist Jim Hastings, from the Dixon-Branch area of Old Lake Highlands, illustrated the pages. Since we last wrote about the book, the Hastings family suffered a terrible tragedy, the death of Jim and his wife’s daughter Zoe, and the artist told The Advocate he coped, in part, with by sketching. Brickell told us back then some people bought the book just for Hastings’ artwork.
Back in 2011 Brickell explained that she frequently travelled internationally on business. Eventually, her encounters with poverty-stricken populations drove her to seek volunteer work through her church. In 2008 she began regularly visiting the Honduran neighborhood where she met the people and the pet that inspired “Cinco.”
“Visiting so many places around the world, such as India, where there is vast poverty, made me think seriously about doing something to help. I mentioned to friends one night that I would like to help children, maybe not in India, but perhaps a little closer to home, Latin America, for example, where I know a little of the language. Days later, a friend invited me on the mission trip to Honduras and I knew what I needed to do. I have been back every year since,” she told us back when the first edition was published.
The SMU graduate told us she sketched out a preliminary mock-up the minute she arrived home from that trip. Of the story she says, “Like in reality, the cat is a friend and a comfort to the humans around the clinic.”
One of the biggest medical needs, she found, correlated directly with reading. Eyesight.
“I would read and sing songs with the children and give eye exams in the clinic,” she explained. “The eye exams are a big deal because many of them can’t even buy reading glasses. There have been times when I have put glasses on a child or adults and the tears will start running down the cheeks. They haven’t been able to see. This might mean that they can work again.”