Since 2007, CNN has awarded several people who have made great contributions to their communities and beyond. In its 12th year, the media company is recognizing the work of Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong, a Peruvian physician who provides housing and food to the patients and families who travel far and through dangerous terrain to see him. CNN’s 2018 Hero of the Year first became aware of the needs of patients’ families about a decade ago when he saw people, who couldn’t afford hotel rooms, trying to fall asleep on hospital floors.
“I couldn’t get the picture of the families sleeping on the floor out of my mind,” Pun-Chong told CNN. “So I decided to do something for them.”
Pun-Chong launched Inspira, a shelter and non-profit that has fed and housed more than 800 families – many of whom come from rural areas in Peru. The shelter gives families and patients one less thing to worry about as they undergo treatment.
With this win – voted on by CNN’s audience – Pun-Chong will take a $100,000 prize, which he already has plans for. “We can start building our new shelter with this – with this prize, we can triple our assistance,” he said. “Thank you so much CNN – thank you so much everybody… The real heroes are our kids. Infinite thank yous to each one of you for trusting us and showing us that love has no borders.”