Updated: Sep 8
Frantzky Ducasse (September 28, 2009 - April 15, 2019)
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” - Mother Teresa
Frantzky never spoke a word or took a step, yet he changed dozens if not hundreds of lives. He left an impact on every person he met, even people he never did who only knew him through photos.
Frantzky had the Joy of Jesus living inside of him and it could be felt by those close to him. How could this little boy who had been through so much in his short time on Earth, have that much joy?
The only answer is that Frantzky’s joy wasn’t of this world.
This little boy with special needs, who was discarded and abandoned as a baby, couldn't speak, and never took a step; forever changed the lives of every single person who met him. He did so with a smile.
If anyone had the right to be angry or bitter about the life cards they were dealt, it would be Frantzky. But he didn't have a self-pitying bone in his body. He was pure joy and light encapsulated in a fragile, tiny frame of a child with special needs.
Frantzky was born with clubbed feet; a simple fix for a child born just 800 miles north in America. But in Haiti, this deformity made him different and the Haitian VooDoo culture deems those with a disability as cursed, demon-possessed, and even disposable.
In Haiti, people with disabilities are seen as a burden rather than as beloved children of God. In Frantzky's case, this mal-informed cultural belief led his birth mom to neglect him, like many other children who are born with a disability in Haiti.
At three years old, Frantzky was left on a dirty mattress on a front porch to fend for himself. This is when myLIFEspeaks staff found him after hearing what they thought was a wounded animal crying. Instead, what they found was an extremely malnourished 3-year-old boy who weighed only thirteen pounds.
After a lot of attempted empowerment and effort, it became clear that Frantzky’s birth mom didn’t want him, even with myLIFEspeaks' help. At that point, Haitian Child Services released Frantzky into myLIFEspeaks' forever care.
At that moment, Frantzky was given a second chance at LIFE. All he needed was for someone to love him and speak up for him when he couldn’t. And that is exactly what myLIFEspeaks does, both in word and action.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute." - Proverbs 31:8
Frantzky was welcomed into the myLIFEspeaks family with open arms. For the first time in his life, he was loved and cherished for exactly who he was.
He found his forever home with one of our Haitian House Families, supported spiritually, physically, and financially by myLIFEspeaks; under a similar model to that of the U.S Foster Care System. He was immediately welcomed and delighted in by his new mom, Tania, grandmother Lolo, and siblings; Sarah, Darbens, Olivier, and Atyms.
The love of his family and the entire myLIFEspeaks community quickly began to heal Frantzky. He received physical therapy, nourishment, medical care, Gospel-centric education, and endless amounts of love. Frantzky began to smile more and he knew he finally belonged.
But his new life still had lingering issues from his past. He had significant developmental delays and neurological issues when he was placed in myLIFEspeaks’ care; either from birth or from his birth mom neglecting him for days at a time. With physical therapy at myLIFEspeaks' Therapy Clinic, he was able to develop and grow.
However, shortly after coming into myLIFEspeaks’ care, Frantzky’s health worsened and it turned out he had a rare strain of malaria. He was getting sicker and sicker and the medicine he needed couldn’t be found anywhere in Haiti. His future was looking bleak.
This is where God provided one of the many miracles we have personally witnessed over the years. Through connections that were entirely God-ordained and several phone calls, within 24 hours a United Nations jet from the United States was meeting us at the Port-au-Prince International Airport, with the life-saving medicine for Frantzky.
This opened the eyes of many in the village of Neply to see that if God loves Frantzky, a child with special needs, who was discarded and believed to be “cursed" enough to send an airplane with medicine to Haiti just for him; then maybe God loves me too.
After this, many Haitians' hearts were open to hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and many believed. In addition, because of Frantzky, the doctors and families who were involved in getting him the medicine were compelled to start a medical clinic at myLIFEspeaks to bring basic, yet life-saving care to the village and surrounding communities.
LIFE Clinic was established in August 2013 thanks to Brent Rutland and Coby and Sue Allen. God used Frantzky to spread the Gospel to the entire village of Neply and establish a clinic that today, sees thousands of patients a year and has grown to include a full-functioning diagnostic lab and pharmacy. The Haitian doctors and nurses at LIFE clinic provide for both the spiritual and physical needs of patients; helping them heal physically while also praying over them and telling them about the ultimate physician, Jesus Christ.
“I can’t wait to one day share with Frantzky that even though some people thought he was not worth the effort, his LIFE was worth a chartered plane just to get him medicine. That’s how important we all are to God," Brent Rutland said.
This is a theme throughout Frantzky’s entire life, he constantly showed us the magnitude, depth, and width of God’s unfathomable love for us.
God used Frantzky's LIFE to speak volumes. And the incredible thing is, Frantzky did it without ever saying a word. He didn’t need to. His LIFE spoke.
With loving care from his family and myLIFEspeaks, Frantzky continued to grow and thrive. His family adored him and treated him just like everyone else. He played with his brothers and sister, went to school at LIFE Academy, and was adored by his teachers, myLIFEspeaks' staff, and team members. He was a friend to all and was loved for exactly who he was.
His sister, Sarah, who has autism and other undiagnosed disabilities, had a special relationship with Frantzky. The myLIFEspeaks staff believes the siblings had their own way of communicating. Frantzky understood Sarah when no one else could.
Frantzky was a beloved brother, son, grandson, friend, nephew, cousin, and classmate. He attended birthday and graduation parties. He participated in everyday family activities. He rode a horse and swam in a pool. He went to school. He played with friends and neighbors. He went to church with his family on Sundays.
He wasn't different. He was family.
Unfortunately, the lack of basic but essential medical care in Haiti would be a recurring obstacle in Frantzky’s life but this time his care was in the hands of the prejudicial Haitian healthcare system.
LIFE clinic, inspired by Frantzky, can handle many of the basic medical needs of the village but when it comes to bigger health battles, myLIFEspeaks still has to rely on Haitian hospitals. Good medical care is hard to find in Haiti. Unlike in America, you aren’t guaranteed life-saving care or even basic medical necessities like IVs, oxygen, and around-the-clock check-ins. This is especially true if ignorance and prejudice are involved.
Heartbreakingly, this is what happened when Frantzky got a virus and kept getting worse to the point where he needed to go to the hospital. After myLIFEspeaks staff took him from hospital to hospital and faced complication after complication, the Haitian health care system failed Frantzky. Ignorant doctors and nurses refused him basic care because of his differences and he passed away as a result.
One of the nurses had purposefully mislabeled his chart as "HIV positive", which wasn't true, which lead to no one checking on him overnight like they were entrusted to do.
A horrific and unimaginable tragedy, at the hands of doctors who were trusted to provide care to a child in need. For more on exactly what happened, myLIFEspeaks' CEO and Co-Founder, Mike Wilson, wrote a detailed article about it here.
Frantzky’s legacy doesn’t end here. His life continues to speak and change the hearts and minds of those who hear his story.
myLIFEspeaks has conviction and resolve today, now more than ever, to permanently change healthcare in Haiti so that these horrific situations never happen to anyone again.
Although we cannot begin to understand or answer the thousands of why’s of this heartbreaking situation, we know that God is in control. As much as we needed Frantzky here, God must have needed him even more.
It doesn’t make sense. In our humanness, we won’t ever understand. However, we CAN and DO have hope in the fact that Frantzky is in Heaven running, dancing, praising, and worshipping Jesus in perfect peace, free from any suffering or pain of this world.
Frantzky will no longer be seen as different, discarded, or disabled. He is entirely whole, perfect, and lovingly in Jesus’ Arms. Although it is hard to even imagine his smile being any bigger or brighter than it was here on earth, it's certain that in Jesus’ presence, Frantzky’s smile is radiating bigger and brighter than ever.