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Global connections: Liberian native once worked for ‘The Carter Center’

IU Health Simon Cancer Center

Global connections: Liberian native once worked for ‘The Carter Center’

This West African native is happy to have the care of IU Health Simon Cancer Center.

By TJ Banes, IU Health Senior Journalist,

When James Jarwolo ate his belly hurt. When he worked his belly hurt. When he didn’t eat his belly hurt. His primary care doctor prescribed medication to help relieve the discomfort but after a few weeks the pain persisted.

“I said I needed something to cure me so after six months I had a deep checkup and the within three days the results came back that I have cancer,” said Jarwolo. On April 6, he underwent a 10-hour surgery and is now undergoing chemotherapy for gastric cancer.

“I am happy with my care and I am blessed with my wife, Carla. She encourages me that I can do anything and I will get through this,” said Jarwolo.

James Jarwolo with wife Carla

Born in Liberia, Jarwolo first visited the United States in 2016. Back home in West Africa, Jarwolo worked for “The Carter Center,” an organization spearheaded by the 39th US President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter. In 2002 Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian efforts working to find peaceful resolutions to international conflicts.

The Carter Center was part of those efforts. Founded in 1982 the Atlanta-based Center has helped to improve the quality of life for people in more than 80 countries. The Center, in partnership with Emory University, is committed to advancing human rights and alleviating unnecessary human suffering.

Jarwolo worked as a logistician, coordinating and supervising a fleet of vehicles and drivers in Liberia. The Carter Center began offering assistance to help rebuild Liberia at the end of Liberia’s civil war in 2003. When Liberia's Ebola epidemic struck in 2014-15, the Center shifted its focus and resources to address the crisis at hand and provide long-term aftercare. Since 2006 The Carter Center has worked at the invitation of the government of Liberia to help educate citizens on the rule of law and provide informal justice services.

The country on the West African coast is home to more than 5 million residents, more than half living below the poverty line.

“Working with The Carter Center we did a lot of jobs with the law team. When there was a meeting of political party heads, I was usually at the forefront with the first lady and president Carter,” said Jarwolo. With increasing civil unrest, Jarwolo moved to the United States in 2018.

“I had such a wonderful career and it was always a pleasure to be in the company of the Carters. I’m fortunate to be here now where I can get the best care,” said Jarwolo.

He and his wife enjoy sightseeing, trying new restaurants and African clubs, and running in local parks.



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