By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Drs. Joe and Shirley Rufrano know that you can’t take water for granted.
“In a pandemic, not only is fresh water crucial for drinking, but for washing your hands as well,” she said. “We’ve always been passionate about safe water projects. But now, even more so.”
The owners of Southside Chiropractic are hoping to raise $50,000 from their “Transform in 21” weight-loss event to donate to Samaritan’s Purse “Oasis of Hope” project, which builds village wells in Cambodia.
“We were first introduced to the greater need for fresh water about 10 years ago,” said Joe. “And we realized that the best thing we could do to help people in need like this is to raise the resources to build wells.”
In addition to drinking, cleaning and raising food, access to water also increases access to education and protects children from predators, Shirley said. “Many children spend all day traveling to get water and they can’t go to school,” she said. “And often, they’re traveling alone and they’re not being watched – the degree of trafficking among these children is insane.”
The “Oasis of Hope” drills community wells, linking all the households in the remote
villages. Last year, they drilled 40 such wells, reaching 34,700 people in 25 villages.
According to Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization, it costs $18,500 to drill and connect a well; $5,500 for the well, $5,500 for the pipes and $7,500 for the storage tank and stand.
This year, the Rufranos gave a $5,000 donation, and soon realized that they could give even more – and potentially save lives.
“The spread of COVID is so much worse there,” said Joe. “It just broke our hearts, but we have the ability to increase our own donation 10-fold.”
Though the Rufranos have previously offered the 21-day “Transform” weight-loss project at different times of the year, this year – their 21st year is 2021 – they have taken the program nationwide in hopes of bringing in more people – and registration fees, which go towards the $50,000 goal.
“COVID has been so stressful physically and emotionally,” said Shirley. “This will help people reset. When you feel physically better, you can handle emotional challenges a lot easier.”
Because “Transform in 21” will be held over Zoom, the Rufranos can bring in health practitioners from across the country. “Our event was recently featured in American Chiropractor magazine,” said Joe. “It’s starting to get some attention.”
The event will focus on diet, wellness, exercise and whole food supplements, as well as inspirational messaging. “We’re taking our usual program to a whole new level,” said Shirley. “Every day we’ll talk about a different topic, such as anxiety or body image, and we’ll have different speakers who will give a nugget of information to transform people emotionally, physically and financially.”
They will also have testimonials from previous participants. “The winner of our last contest said her doctor took her off 21 different medications after only three weeks of the program,” said Joe. “She also lost 15 pounds in three weeks and is now symptom-free without any medication.”
And some lucky participants will get a “Detox Survival Kit” from the Rufranos, which includes supplements, essential oils and other supplies to help combat the cravings.