Monthly Archives: November 2013

Hope for the Hopeless by Hannah Moore

By | Blog, Haiti, LEAP Stories, Mission Program, News, Volunteers | No Comments

Hannah and keleta beforeHope made its way to Haiti on August 13, 2011. That morning, I had been in the Pre-Op room with the kids, getting them calmed down and ready for surgery. All of a sudden our translator, Cliff, came into the room with the look of urgency on his face. He came straight to me and asked if I would come with him; there was a woman I needed to see. We rushed off to the waiting area where there was an elderly woman sitting alone, weeping, and holding a beautiful baby girl named Keleta Auguste. The woman was so sorrowful; it was heartbreaking.

2012 Keleta afterWhen I approached her, I asked Cliff to tell her that I thought Keleta was a beautiful girl. The woman wanted me to know she did not think her baby was beautiful. Instead, she believed Keleta to be cursed. The woman said that she would never be beautiful, she would never get married, no man would love her, and she would not have a happy life. This precious piece of heaven had been born with a cleft lip and cleft palate.

The elderly woman then began to speak very quickly back and forth with Cliff. She was asking him why he had brought me to stand with her. He explained to her that I had had a cleft lip just like Keleta. He then explained to her that Dr. Hobar had performed all of my operations from my initial surgery until my most recent. She looked at me, and I could tell she was still very confused. I asked Cliff to tell her that the same surgeon who had done my surgeries would be doing that baby girl’s the very next day. She again took a very long, good look at me. Tears began to form in her eyes again, but this time, they were different tears. She was shedding tears of joy. She had been given hope.

That night while telling this story to Dr. Hobar, he asked if I would like to be the first assistant in Keleta’s surgery the next day. Of course, I said yes! It was amazing being able to be such a big part of this girl’s journey. It was even better being able to give hope to the hopeless. My cleft lip, which I had previously seen as a problem, then became one of the biggest blessings in my life.

Hannah Moore
LEAP Volunteer

Hannah Moore Thumbnail

Typhoon Haiyan Response

By | Blog, Disaster Relief, ISAPS, News | No Comments

LEAP is working with our international partners, ISAPS and Relief International, to get medical help to the Philippines to aid in the relief of Typhoon Haiyan. We are looking to deploy surgeons and nurses with Relief International’s RED Teams. As details become available, we will give more specific information, but if you have interest or know someone who does, please contact Ryan Snyder Thompson at Please help get the word out. You can also help support the cause financially by making a donation through LEAP Foundation by visiting the Donate page.

Ryan Snyder Thompson, Director of International Disaster Relief
Craig Hobar, Founder and Medical Director
Debbie Wisdom, Executive Director

Meet 2013 Team Haiti – Trip 2!

By | Blog, Haiti, Mission Program, News, Volunteers | No Comments

Our trip to Haiti from October 31 – November 4 was a wonderful success! Members of the LEAP team completed 41 procedures and surgeries over three days, ranging from fixing cleft lips and palates to performing inguinal hernia and other urological repairs. LEAP runs on the support of generous volunteers like the ones mentioned below. Thanks again to the awesome members of our second Haitian team this year!

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Craig Hobar M.D. (pictured left)

Dr. Hobar has been a plastic surgeon for 22 years and is also the Founder and Medical Director of LEAP. He grew up in Tampa, Florida and now lives in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Hobar studied at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida. He does mission work because it fills the hole that God puts in his and everyone’s hearts that only He can fill with serving others and sharing the love of Christ (even when Christ’s name is not known to them). He says he has been on “a few” trips with LEAP. When asked what his hobbies are, he replied, “Mostly in this day and age, comparing one ache to the other pain from all of my previous hobbies.”

Spain, Tommy 2

Thomas Spain, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Spain, Jr. has practiced pediatric anesthesiology for 6 years. He grew up in many places including Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Houston, and Cleveland but currently calls Grapevine, TX home. He attended college at Johns Hopkins University and medical school at UT San Antonio. This is Dr. Spain, Jr.’s ninth trip with LEAP. He explains that mission work is important to him because it’s a biblical commandment to spread the word of God and take care of orphans and widows. He enjoys running, hunting, and acupuncture.


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Jeffrey Cone, M.D. (pictured right)

Dr. Cone is a plastic surgeon, who finished his residency in 2013. He grew up in Amarillo, TX and moved to Dallas for his craniofacial fellowship. For his undergraduate work, he studied at Davidson College (Go ‘Cats!). His mission work is driven by his love of the Lord and his love of adventure. This is his first mission trip with LEAP, which he heard about through Dr. Hobar. Jeffrey loves skiing (and by skiing, he means snow-skiing; is there any other kind?). He loves his incredible wife, Mary Kat, and his four children.


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Micah Jacobs, M.D. (pictured right)

Dr. Jacobs has been a pediatric urologist for two years. He grew up in Houston, TX and now calls Dallas home. He studied at Yale. About mission trips, he feels that is “a gift to be able to reach out, get to know, and help children with these problems”. He learned about LEAP through Dr. Clanton Harrison and enjoys anything outdoors as well as scuba diving.



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John McClay, M.D. (pictured right)

Dr. McClay practices pediatric otolaryngology. He grew up in Houston, TX and now resides in Dallas. He toured the US through his studies. For his undergraduate work, he studied at Texas A&M, went to medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, did his general surgery and ENT residency at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and his pediatric ENT fellowship at Children’s Medical Center in Washington, DC.

His desire to do mission work comes from his desire to serve the Lord and show love to His people so they know God loves them and wants to have a relationship with them. He has known Dr. Hobar for 18 years and has been to Belize and Haiti three times before.  His hobbies revolve around serving the Lord and spending time with his family. He is interested in watching God perform miracles by the people He puts together. His joy comes from when God shows Himself and from watching the Holy Spirit work, knowing the miracle comes from God.


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Evan McClay

Evan joins her father Dr. McClay on her first LEAP mission trip. She is currently a student at the University of Arkansas and has also owned an online boutique, Dress and Bless, for almost a year. She grew up in Dallas and resides here still.

She feels it is her duty to share all that the Lord has given her and to show her faith through mission work. It pains her to know how much need there is in the world, and she wants to do what she can to help. Her main hobby is her business as it combines everything she loves. She also loves photography and her dog.


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Clanton Harrison, M.D.

Dr. Harrison is a pediatric urologist and has been for 24 years. He grew up in Houston, Texas, a trend with our doctors, and now resides in Dallas. Dr. Harrison attended Hill Jr. College and Texas A&M University. He likes to do mission work as it gives him a chance to show Christ’s love through the gift of healing. He heard about LEAP trough Dr. Hobar and has been on many trips with LEAP before. Dr. Harrison enjoys playing golf, playing basketball with his 2 boys and traveling.



Latha Kampalath, M.D. (pictured center)

Latha has been a pediatric anesthesiologist for 30 years. Originally from Kerala, India, she now lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Kampalath first learned about LEAP from Dr. France, a veteran mission anesthesiologist. LEAP has been blessed to have had Dr. Kampalath on several mission trips.


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Phuong Luong, AA-C

Phuong is a pediatric anesthetist at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas for the past five years. She grew up in south Georgia and now lives in Dallas, Texas. For her undergraduate work, she studied at Valdosta State University and completed her graduate work at Nova Southeastern University.

Phuong has wanted to do mission work her whole life, based on her strong desire to assist people who are not as fortunate as we are in the U.S. Ms. Luong heard about LEAP through Dr Hobar. This is her fourth mission trip through LEAP, and she hopes to have many more. Her hobbies include traveling and running. She is also a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children for Dallas CASA



Mary Reece, R.N.

Mary Reece, an RN and Haiti Operating Room Coordiator, grew up in Nebraska and now lives in Dallas, Texas. She attended college in South Dakota and furthered her education in Dallas. She enjoys doing mission work because she feels one can never give back enough. She heard about LEAP through Dr. Hobar and enjoys biking, gardening, and spending time with her grandbabies.

 Lisa Perry

Lisa Perry, R.N.

Lisa has been a pediatric RN for the past 28 years. She grew up in Palestine, TX and now lives in McKinney.  She studied at Brookhaven College. Her interest in mission work is based on her belief that God has given her a special gift of taking care of children. She learned about LEAP from a doctor with whom she works. This is her second trip to Haiti, and she hopes that she will be given more opportunities in the future.  Her hobbies include reading, hiking, and kayaking.


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Sallie Robertson, P.A.

Sallie has been a Physician Assistant for 23 years and has worked in Pediatric Urology for 8 years. She hails from St. Louis, MO, and now resides in Allen, TX. She attended UT Southwestern Dallas.  Her desire to do mission work comes from her desire to serve Christ and her fellow man.  She learned about LEAP through anesthesiologists Dr. Dodson and Dr. Fitzgerald and has been to Haiti before as well as Belize. She enjoys running and watching the Allen Eagles and Texas Aggies football as well as spending time with family and friends.


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Melissa Howell, R.N., C.P.N.P.

Melissa has been a pediatric nurse practitioner for 25 years in primary care, pulmonology/immunology, and currently in ENT. She grew up in Allen, TX and has lived in the Plano/Carrollton area for over 20 years. She went to college at UT Arlington. Her faith and love for Christ is why she does mission work. She wants to be His hands and feet. She wants to share His love and use the gifts she was given to make a better life for children around the world.

Melissa learned about LEAP through colleagues and is thrilled about her first mission trip with LEAP. She enjoys being outside, loves to cook, and enjoys being involved in her children’s activities.


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Abby Lamon (pictured right)

Abby recently graduated from TCU and plans to attend PA school in the fall. She grew up in Houston and now lives in Fort Worth. Seeing the difficulties of impoverished people – both at home and abroad – makes her want to do mission work. She wants to help, so they may live happier, healthier lives.

Abby is a newlywed, and her husband’s family has gone on many trips with LEAP. They encouraged her to do so as well.  Also, Abby has been a student of classical ballet since the age of four!



Charlie Lin, RN

Charlie has been an RN for over three years, working primarily in the emergency department for the Baylor Health Care System. He also works in the OR, corporate wellness department, education, and healthcare improvement. Additionally, Charlie volunteers as a pregnancy staff nurse at a crisis center and is a camp nurse. Charlie was born in Tai’Chung, Taiwan but was primarily raised in Plano, TX. Charlie graduated from West Texas A&M University.

Charlie’s desire for mission work comes from his love of seeing how God uses the least of our abilities to do something greater. Knowing that God has given him the privilege and opportunity to use his nursing skills to serve Him overseas is a blessing in itself. He is reminded that at the heart of his nursing practice, he can see love, compassion, faith, patience, and ultimately, the presence and providence of God. He knows that God has placed him in this time for His purpose as a cancer survivor.

Charlie was serving as a Chinese translator for Dr. Hobar at the Ronald McDonald House in Fall 2011 when he learned about LEAP. He was part of the Spring 2012 team and was excited to return to Haiti. Charlie’s hobbies include playing volleyball and ultimate Frisbee several times a week, baking pastries, playing piano and violin, and singing.


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Janet Ortega (pictured left) and Jessica Ortega (pictured right)

Janet grew up in Gatesville, TX and now lives in Caddo, OK. She has a heart for helping and serving others. She learned about LEAP through Dr. Hobar, and this is her first mission trip. She enjoys bible study and rodeo and is joined in Haiti by her daughter, Jessica. Jessica was recently accepted into pharmacy school and is excited to also be on her first mission trip.



Kathy Adams

Kathy is from Export, PA and now lives in Arlington, TX. She studied at Clarion University of Pennsylvania and is in clinical education. She has a desire to grow personally and professionally, to help others; and to share her gifts with others – all of which fuels her desire to do mission work.

This is Kathy’s first mission trip, which she learned about from Erika Grimes. Erika told her about LEAP and encouraged her to call. She enjoys Irish dance, cooking, and raising animals.


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Monty Wolfe, MBA (pictured right)

Monty has worked in the IT field for the past 23 years and currently works for Bell Helicopter (Textron) as an IT Customer Integration Program Manager. He has been with Bell for seven years and with Textron for 11 years. Monty grew up in Sierra Vista, AZ, and went to college in Tempe, studying Industrial Engineering. After a few years, he completed his MBA at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. He now resides with his family in Keller, TX.

While growing up and attending college, he didn’t understand much about mission work. God blessed him with his wife Melisa, who really introduced him to the importance of missions. This opened his eyes to the various aspects of missions and the way people serve. Over time, God created a desire in his heart to be a more active participant. The adoption of their son Mason has made him more sensitive to the needs of orphans and those with physical deformities. He is excited and humbled to be going on this trip with his daughter Miranda.

This is Monty’s first mission trip but not his first experience with LEAP. LEAP provided the sponsorship and surgical care for their son, Mason (then Sergey), who came to the United States from Russia in 2007 for life changing and ultimately life saving repair of his severe cleft through the Landmark program. Monty enjoys spending time with his family, being outdoors, and working with youth at their church – Bear Creek Bible in Keller.


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Miranda Wolfe (pictured left)

Miranda, a high school senior, was born in Arizona and now lives in Keller, TX.

Miranda’s interest in mission work was sparked by her trip to Russia to finalize the adoption of her brother, Mason. She has been very interested in mission work, especially work involving orphans with deformities. This is her first mission trip, and she is very excited to see what God will do. She knows that God has blessed her with much and hopes to share God’s love with those not as fortunate as she. She wants to do mission work to further the Kingdom of God and to glorify Him throughout the world.

She also learned about LEAP through the adoption of her brother, Mason, from Russia. He was given up for adoption due to a cleft that ran up to his eye. Her family offered to host him while Mason was here in 2007 at the age of nine months for a series of surgeries through LEAP’s Landmark Program. His adoption was finalized in 2008.

Miranda enjoys playing piano, volunteering, babysitting and spending time with family and friends.


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Lisa Wachalec

Lisa was a special education teacher and is now retired. She has over 30 years of experience. She grew up in Columbia Station, OH, and now lives in Fairview Park, OH. She went to Lorain County Community College and Cleveland State University for curriculum and instruction for the multi-handicapped.

She has been very blessed and now has the time to help others and spread the joy of knowing God.  She hopes to use her skills to assist parents with helping special needs children achieve developmental and educational milestones. Lisa saw Dr. Hobar on “The Dr. Phil Show” and called to find out more about LEAP. She enjoys scuba diving and hiking.


Halicke, Karen

Karen Halicke, CST

Karen is a certified surgical technologist of six years. She grew up in Warrentown, MO, and now lives in Dallas. Karen attended El Centro Community College. She has always wanted to do mission work and feels that she now has a good opportunity to give back. Karen discovered LEAP through her co-workers. This is her fourth trip to Haiti with LEAP. Karen enjoys watching her children run cross-country and watching her daughter ballroom dance.


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Latieia Key, R.N. and Bruce Key

Latieia Key has been an RN for ten years. She grew up in Mesquite, TX and now lives in Royce City. She earned her BS in Nursing from Texas Women’s University and her Masters from UT Arlington. She learned about LEAP from her colleagues at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and has since joined LEAP on mission trips to Zimbabwe, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Latieia enjoys being able to serve others as a reflection of the Lord’s love. She enjoys reading, teaching and swimming. This is her husband Bruce’s first mission trip.


Wisdom, Debbie

Debbie Wisdom, RN

Debbie is the Executive Director of LEAP. She has been a registered nurse for almost 30 years. She began her nursing career in pediatrics labor, delivery, and surgery, until she began a lengthy nursing career specializing in the legal field. Debbie was raised in Houston, spending summers in Lubbock with her grandparents. She graduated from Texas Tech University in order to fulfill a now five-generation family tradition. This is Debbie’s third mission trip with LEAP, and she feels blessed by the opportunity. Now that her two daughters are grown, it is the perfect time to fulfill a lifelong desire for global mission work.



Noelle Jeanminette

Noelle is a surgical tech who was born in San Francisco and now lives in Destin, Florida. She attended Pensacola Junior College and the University of West Florida. She is motivated to do mission work because, “God said to, and I like to do what I’m told!” Volunteering and mission work complete her like nothing she’s experienced in her life. It makes her wholly happy to serve her brothers and sisters and to spread Christ’s love.

She learned about LEAP through a friend and co-worker, Gay Smith. Gay’s radiance in talking about her own participation in LEAP mission trips prompted Noelle to want some of what her friend was feeling. This is her second mission trip with LEAP.


Jennifer Saga

Jennifer Saga

Jennifer is a surgical tech at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. She has been a scrub for 11 years. Jennifer was an army brat for 13 years and lived in many countries as a child. She feels this has helped her in her LEAP journey. She has seen many different cultures and ways of life outside our comfort zone. She and her family moved to Dallas when she was 15, and she has lived here since. Texas has always been home and always will be.

She attended the High Tech Institute for scrub tech school and has furthered her education through Brookhaven College in the past few years. Jennifer feels very lucky to have a career that allows her to help those in need. Her skills along with her heart and passion for caring for others are why she chose mission work. She feels like she has much to give to those around her and will continue to do so until God shows her a different path. She learned about LEAP in Christmas of 2007. Jackie Reed and other colleagues would talk about their incredible experiences through LEAP trips, and she wanted to feel that for herself. This is her fourth trip to Haiti. She would love to go on other mission trips to help spread the love and talent of the LEAP family.

Jennifer loves reading, yoga, and meditation. She is a peaceful person at heart and enjoys the quiet side of life until it is time to share her love of helping people.
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Donna Matthews, BA
Donna has been a Mission Coordinator for the LEAP Foundation for the past two months. She grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, and attended Louisiana State University. Donna now calls Dallas home.  Her desire to do mission work comes from love of helping others less fortunate.  She learned about LEAP through Debbie Wisdom, and this is her first mission trip.
Donna enjoys anything to do with LSU sports as well as reading, painting, and restoring furniture.
11_1_2013 Lara one month old
Lara Korba, MBA
Lara is the Director of Development and Operations at LEAP. She hails from Toronto, Canada and now resides in Dallas. She earned her MBA from York University in Toronto and her Honours BSc from the University of Toronto. God put a calling to help others in her heart as a little girl and has found the perfect marriage of her business experience, education, and the desires of her heart and spirit through LEAP. She learned about LEAP through the Center for Non Profit Management. This is Lara’s first mission trip. She enjoys cuddling and laughing with her sweet babies as well as martial arts, fitness, and anything outdoors.

It Takes a Village: Rebecca’s Story

By | Blog, Haiti, LEAP Stories, Mission Program, News | No Comments

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-2-48-27-pmRebecca is a young teenage girl from rural Haiti.  She and her mom noticed her right eye starting to protrude about four months ago, being displaced both downward and outward. She could not breathe at all out of the right side of her nose, and her mother feared she would lose her eye. Haiti Health Ministries, who serves indigent rural Haitians, tried to help her, but the disease process had progressed too far and was too complex. Rebecca had undergone multiple tests and a biopsy, but the doctors in Haiti were simply not sure what was wrong with her.

rebecca-ct-e1383846355207On October 11, Rebecca’s fate changed. HHM contacted Dr. Hobar, and Dr. John McClay, LEAP’s Director of Pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat Surgery was immediately consulted. A review of the CT scan made Dr. McClay suspect what was later confirmed: Rebecca had an expanding frontoethmoidal mucocele, causing severe propotosis and craniofacial abnormality. Untreated, it could have gone into her brain, leading to loss of vision and worsened deformity.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-2-48-19-pmSinus surgery was required, but so were specialized endoscopic sinus surgery equipment and instruments. Haiti didn’t have that, and neither did LEAP. Saving this little girl was a seemingly insurmountable task.

Brigham Whitney, a wonderful Head and Neck Account Executive at Karl Storz Endoscopy America, began to move those mountains. He got the ball rolling and loads of people at Karl Storz began working behind the scenes to secure the equipment and instrumentation required. Mrs. Sybill Storz very generously lent us the $250,ooo worth of top of the line instruments required to save this little girl.

The equipment, along with the LEAP team headed to Haiti on October 31st, and the very next day, Rebecca went into surgery. Dr. McClay and his team operated on her, and little Rebecca was finally healed. She will not lose her eye or her sight, and in 1-2 years, she will likely have normal facial features again.

First class care for one child. Because we are all God’s children.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40


Yliana the Angel

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11_2_2013 Haiti_Yliana beforeYliana is one of the children who crept into my heart in Haiti. Her mother had brought her to the hospital in the early hours of the day of our arrival and waited until well into the evening for her daughter to be seen.  A precious little girl with beautiful brown eyes, her mother had dressed her up in a pretty blue dress for us. We evaluated her and scheduled her for surgery the following day to repair her cleft lip.

I had the great privilege of sitting in on her entire surgery and watched with bated breath as each precise cut and stitch incrementally transformed the face of this beautiful child. As she slept in the recovery room, I gazed in awe at her beautiful face, knowing that once she healed, her tiny mouth and sweet little nose would perfectly complement those gorgeous brown eyes.

11_2_2013 Haiti Yliana afterI interviewed her mother as Yliana slept in the recovery room. Her mother told me she had eight children who were all beautiful except for Yliana. I was reminded of Michelangelo, who also served God with his skill and his hands, who said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

Thank you to our prayer team, who continue to lift up these beautiful children and our Haitian team so that we may continue to do God’s work.

[Lara Korba – first trip]

Reflection for November 1

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11_1_2013 Lara one month old

The children of Haiti are unforgettable. There is something extraordinary within them that steals your heart. They have a light, a spirit that is very special. This little boy entertained us for an hour in pre-op. Such a tiny little man with an enormous spirit. He chatted with us, kissed us, hugged us, and best of all, he let us love him back. Dr. Hobar’s energy and spirit are also boundless. As with all of the medical staff, he had hours of surgery behind him and many ahead; yet here he was, Skyping with a class about the work we are doing here. God is good, and He is everywhere – in the eyes and smiles of these precious children, and in the hearts and hands of the volunteers who make these trips and the transformations of these beautiful little lives possible. Please continue to pray for good outcomes and healing for these children and their families. You are all part of our team.

[Lara Korba – first trip]