Friendship turns into a life-saving mission

Posted at 6:37 PM, Mar 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-30 19:10:20-04

A friendship between a St. Pete High student and a war refugee has turned into a life-saving mission.

Now the pair is renewing their dedication to the same cause again.

"I just really am honored to know him,” said 14-year-old Meira Kowalski.

The mutual admiration between Kowalski  and 39-year-old Joseph Deng just makes you feel good.

"Her heart is bigger than 14 years old and that's amazing. That's what I like about her,” said Deng.

"He's such an inspirational person. Everything that he's done and everything that he's been through,” said Kowalski.

But their friendship formed over over-the-counter medicine has helped hundreds.

"There is a picture of a woman and she had cholera. She is completely sweating, so dehydrated looking,” said Kowalski.

"I worked with her and like three hours later, she said, I'm ready to go home,” explained Deng.

Meira and Joseph raised thousands of dollars last year to ship items like ibuprofen to his South Sudan village.

They met last year as the St. Pete High School freshman researched the ‘Lost Boys of Sudan’ — 20 thousand boys orphaned during the Sudanese civil war forced to flee their country.

Joseph is just one of them.

"God saved me for a reason and I think that's why building the clinic is going to help so much and God will be pleased,” he said.

This year their GoFundMe account has raised 25 percent more in donations than last year.

Tomorrow the two will speak together at Thonotosassa Community Middle School tomorrow to kick-off their second medicine drive.

"Over there it changes lives. It saves so many lives,” said Kowalski.

It's a friendship sure to make you smile.

But a bond that's truly saving lives.

"When the clinic is built, I'm going to bring here there and it's going to be opened in front of her,” said Deng.