How did Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong, the Asian Peruvian Doctor become CNN’s Hero of 2018?
Hero of CNN began in 2007. Selected nominees including television stars, entertainers and contributors to humanitarians to their communities are selected. Generally top ten recipients are voted. The recipients earn a cheque (USD$25,000 in 2014) that is now USD$50,000. During 10th anniversary in 2016, 5 winners of previous years were honoured as online superhero.
In 2018, Anderson Cooper conducted the show. Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong, an Asian Peruvian Doctor, was selected was one of the ten CNN’s hero. As the winner of CNN’s Hero, Pun-Chong received USD $100 thousand as prize money. The total amount was invested in expanding the Inspira shelter in Lima by the Sucro Municipality.
Early Life of Ricardo Pun-Chong
Ricardo Pun-Chong was born in Lima in 1977. Since his early age, Ricardo participated in social brigades and/or school and parish near his home. He worked as a fire fighter in Lima while he was a student at Compañía Salvadora Lima. He worked till he was 16 years when his father asked him to quit due to terrorism. At age 20, his father passed away and soon his mother died of cancer. He was the first ICPNA telethon until he was 21 years. Later, he studied Medicine at the Autonomous University Guadalajara, in Mexico.
What influenced Ricardo Pun-Chong to create Inspira?
While a student at 47 years, he noticed families seeking shelter. He found as many as 800 families that travelled far away from homes in rural areas. They ventured to seek shelter at the hospital in order to get an appointment. Ricardo Pun-Chong confided with El Comercio that he wished to open a hostel for children with cancer. There, he met a teen who had lost his leg. Pun-Chong was fed up seeing people flogging the hospital grounds. Hence, in 2008, he and his friends opened Inspira shelter. This NGO provides people with free accommodation, food and support for any sick children. In June 2011, the Inspira shelter officially began operating.
Details of Inspira
According to Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong’s interview on CNN, he has mentioned that Inspira provides love. This is the most essential ingredient to survive with dignity along with other bare necessities in life. As per July 2017, Inspira NGO’s website has provided shelter to 900 families. The beds in Inspira have been occupied over 50,000 times. Also, Pun-Chong has get over 25,000 servings of balanced food and supports to children with burns, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. This organisation is situated at 199-A Calle Guillermo Peratta, Santiago de Surco. It is open every day to receive donations. People may visit the website to donate and take advantage of offered services here.
Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong’s speech after CNN’s Hero of 2018
Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong has thanked the volunteers who have helped him set up the Inspira for the past ten years. Also, he has praised those who provided with food that has made it possible to be present even to this day. Ricardo Pun-Chong has thanked his mother, father, brother, mentor and Brother Luis for guiding him in his life. Ricardo has acknowledged the children and their mothers as the true heroines of his work.
Who nominated Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong?
In 2018, Ricardo Pun-Chong had contacted his school promotion and school classmate called Natalia León. She lives abroad after her father was killed in terrorism. She visited Peru to show the children and visited Inspira hostel. She had mentioned something positive should be done. On arriving to the USA, she turned on the television and found Ricardo Pun-Chong announced as CNN’s Hero of the year.
Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong work especially for Inspira, NGO is an ongoing process. The families venture from far away rural parts from Peru and other neighbouring countries. They are provided with food, lodging and special care at no cost. This is possible because of volunteers and donations from good Samaritans.
Written By: Hetal Kabra