Andy Code and Scott Boyer: Giving together for the ‘rest of the world’

Andy and Sue Code met 45 years ago at a Young Life event. Since then, they’ve been passionate about sharing the gospel and stewarding well what God has given them – their resources, skills, and relationships. This has led them to care deeply about those many would describe simply as “the rest of the world.”

Andy (second from right) and Sue (far left) along with their two sons, Adam and David, pastor Ray Carter, Andy’s brother, Kevin and his wife, Brenda, after viewing a life-saving surgery at CURE in Mbale, Uganda.

When their kids were teens, this passion took them all over the globe. “We wanted our kids to know what the rest of the world looked like, not just the white-collar community we lived in,” Andy says. He can count the number of times they’ve been to some of the places they visited that have become most important to them: Africa – five times, Haiti – five times, Honduras more than 20 – often taking others with them to show the joy God can work in a person’s heart while on mission.

The trips inspired a family passion for giving – and eventually a whole community of givers – that has evolved into support for key geographic areas and specific causes that are the focus of the family’s giving. With Sue’s background as a surgical nurse, giving to medical causes just makes sense. And access to medical care – specifically for those in areas that do not have it ­­– is important to the whole family. They have supported numerous initiatives and hospital projects in some of the most under-resourced areas of the world.

David Code visits those caring for babies with hydrocephalus.

Along their giving journey, the Codes developed an appreciation for the work of CURE International, a network of children’s hospitals that seeks to “heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Stopping hydrocephalus

CURE Uganda specializes in pediatric neurological conditions, treating nearly 8,000 patients per year and performing more than 1,500 surgeries and procedures. Andy and Sue were particularly interested in supporting the treatment of hydrocephalus, a condition that often carries a terrible stigma for mothers and babies. “If you’re in a tribal area, they consider it a curse to have a baby with hydrocephalus,” Andy says. “But the hospital has a surgery that can cure it.”

Without the surgery, 90 percent of children with hydrocephalus die within two years. With the surgery, they can live productive lives. And CURE Uganda is a training hospital, the world teaching center for hydrocephalus surgery. Doctors come from all over Africa, South America, and even from the U.S. (including Johns Hopkins and Harvard), to learn in Uganda. Each year, some of these trips are sponsored by the Code family.

Scott Boyer

Containing epilepsy

Scott Boyer is as passionate about eradicating the stigma of epilepsy as the Codes are about erasing the shame that accompanies hydrocephalus in tribal areas. Working for decades in the pharmaceutical industry, Scott saw something firsthand: graphs showing high sales in wealthy places like the United States, Japan, and Europe. In emerging markets, like China and India, sales were moderate, and the provision of established medications was meager.

Every other country in the world was relegated to a barely noticeable bar at the far-right column, marked “ROW,” for “Rest of World.” Though negligible as markets for pharmaceutical companies, these ROW countries are home to about half of the global population who often live in poverty, unable to pay for the standard of healthcare available in the developed world.

So, Scott started a unique social enterprise – a profitable pharmaceutical business that helps fuel the work of its nonprofit partner to ensure countries in that ROW column get critical medications. They began with medications that treat epilepsy, knowing that 80 percent of people with epilepsy live in low- and middle-income countries, and the vast majority of cases, though treatable, are neglected.

ROW Global Health is now one of the largest supporters of epilepsy diagnosis and treatment in the world.

Giving together

When Andy and Scott met through a men’s Bible study, the two quickly discovered they had a lot in common. Both were highly successful in business, and both had a passion for showing God’s love through good medical care for people in other parts of the world. When Scott learned about the work Andy’s family did with CURE, he realized he could also work with CURE to make a similar investment to reduce the stigma of epilepsy and narrow the treatment gap.

Though it’s estimated that roughly 700,000 Ugandans are living with epilepsy (more than twice the number, per capita, as residents of industrialized countries), very few have been diagnosed with a proper electroencephalogram (EEG). A lack of EEG machines and qualified clinicians is part of the problem.

Untreated epilepsy has life-altering consequences, and not just because of the physical danger from uncontrolled seizures. Epilepsy is often misunderstood, leading to severe social stigma and discrimination, preventing those affected from getting jobs, attending school, and getting married. In parts of Uganda, epileptic seizures can be mistaken for psychological problems or worse – demon possession.

Together, Andy and Scott worked to make sure CURE’s physicians had everything they needed. The Code family continued to fund training for surgeons to learn to perform the surgery for hydrocephalus, and ROW began to provide the hospital with anti-seizure medication. But an EEG machine was desperately needed for proper diagnosis. When Scott invited the Codes to help purchase an EEG machine for CURE Uganda in 2020, they didn’t hesitate to send a grant from their Giving Fund (donor-advised fund) at NCF.

A nurse (Caren) lays hands on a baby, praying before her surgery.

The Code family’s partnership with ROW means that CURE Uganda can now provide improved support for neurological conditions that most of the developed world take for granted. It also means that people with epilepsy and hydrocephalus (and their caregivers) are now able to pursue education, hold jobs, raise families, and contribute to the long-term health of their communities.

The ripple effects of the Code family’s focused giving and the humanitarian work of ROW Global Health are already impacting generations of families in Uganda and in parts of the world the rest of the world hardly considers. It’s just one example of how God brings his people together for good works and how the right gift at the right time to the right people can make all the difference.

Photos courtesy of CURE Uganda, Andy Code, and ROW Global Health

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