Two men originally from Nigeria are seeking donations of medical equipment to send back to hospitals and clinics in their home country.
Earlier this month, Larry Ojeleye, 44, who owns Affordable Limousine Services, and Innocent Ndubuisi, 41, a sonographer at Overland Park Regional Medical Center, put two mammogram units on a semitrailer to begin their journey to a state hospital in Nigeria.
"A lot of the things that are not usable here can be very much in use there," Ndubuisi said.
Both men said thousands of people in Nigeria can't afford proper health care, including early detection of severe health problems.
Ojeleye said it's "heartbreaking" to hear people died a month after discovering they had cancer.
Ndubuisi was inspired to help the hospital when visiting his family in 2005. He contracted malaria and went to a hospital for treatment.
"When I was there, I noticed how this guy (a doctor) did a lot of work for the indigent population," he said. "That really moved me. He had a nice setup, but he didn't have any equipment."
Ndubuisi said when he returned home he asked his boss, Peg McElhinney, director of radiology, whether there was any unused or out-of-date equipment he could send home. McElhinney said that in May, the hospital switched to digital mammogram units and donated its older units to Ndubuisi.
Ndubuisi asked Ojeleye for help. Ojeleye paid the shipping costs to send the mammogram units and a few wheelchairs to Nigeria. Ndubuisi said Nigeria's deputy governor of Kwara State, Joel Ogundeji, who was recently visiting family in Kansas City, Mo., returned this week to Nigeria to coordinate with the ministry of health to transport the equipment to a hospital there. Ogundeji said state hospital staff have used mammogram units, but theirs are "dilapidated."
"We know things are tough right now," Ojeleye said. "Whatever anybody could do to help us in helping out these poor people, because you know with cancer, sometimes if you catch it earlier, you save people's life."
Anyone who would like to make a donation is asked to contact Ojeleye at 841-0463.