Monthly Archives: January 2014

I’ll Never Forget India by Denise Nixon

By | Blog, India, Mission Program, News | No Comments

india-2012One day while catching up with a friend about our kids, grandkids, and husbands’ hectic schedules, she casually mentioned in her soft sweet manner, “You really should come to India; it is one of my favorite trips!” I’m not much for small talk but really? Travel to India, 8,509 miles away from home? Was she serious? This friend is a truly special one. She happens to be Robin Hobar, my son’s mother-in-law and the wife of LEAP’s founder, Dr. Craig Hobar. Out of respectful consideration for our relationship, I went into a “deep spiritual” process to figure out if God was truly calling me to go to India. My first thought was, “I guess if I go, she won’t be trying to sneak in extra ‘Nana’ time with our precious grandchildren!” Ok, I’ll go.

Damoh, India – February 2012

Arriving at our destination, we stepped off the bus, and the entire LEAP team received a heartfelt welcome. After a short time of introductions, I was anxious to visit the infants and toddlers living in the orphanage where we would be staying for the next week. I went to the toddlers’ room first and experienced a joy beyond measure with big smiles, little arm hugs, and children crawling up onto my lap – what tender moments. After spending some time at the orphanage, my friend thought I was ready for the big time! I was going to the hospital where the LEAP medical team would be changing lives using their God-given gifts and talents. But wait, I have no medical background. No matter, I was going to the hospital as the “support team.”

With great anticipation, we arrived at the hospital, and there was an organized flurry of compassionate LEAP volunteers and anxious and tired patients. Both had travelled great distances and sacrificed much to arrive at the same destination. The LEAP volunteers were processing patients, which involved reviewing paperwork, doing mini-physicals, taking pictures for the surgeons to review the “before” and “after” results, scheduling surgeries, and giving pre and post-surgical instructions to each patient. The patients focused intently as they awaited final approval and scheduling for their surgeries. One desperate father tried to go through the process twice in hopes that his young child who had a fever would somehow be approved. How great a fathers love!  (John 3:1)

I watched with an awestruck daze as this team of doctors, nurses, and other LEAP volunteers worked through stack after stack of papers and reviewed hundreds of hopeful patients and families with such love and efficiency. As I entered into the large tent set up outside the hospital to assist with post-op care, I was reminded that believers of Christ are His hands and feet for serving and loving others.  (1 Corinthians 12)

Denise Nixon

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Denise Nixon 
LEAP Volunteer
 
 

On a Wing and a Prayer by Robin Hobar

By | Disaster Relief, Haiti, Landmark Program, LEAP Stories, News | No Comments

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-01-14-pmWe got the call that CareFlight was bringing a baby named Orleans from Haiti, traveling with his mom, Fabienne. He was born with Pierre Robin Syndrome, which caused him to have trouble breathing. Fabienne had rushed him to the disaster relief hospital run by the Americans in Port-au-Prince. Orleans stopped breathing completely and was pronounced dead. He was wrapped in a blanket and placed in the makeshift morgue of the hospital in Haiti. Miraculously, someone heard a noise in the morgue that sounded like a baby’s whimper. Orleans was still alive! Thankfully, Dr. Ana Tran, a LEAP Medical Volunteer, was there. She called Medical City, who then called Craig and the LEAP Foundation.

Mariline, a 21-year-old Haitian girl with a double amputation (also a LEAP Landmark patient), was staying at our home at the time when we got the call. She was healing from the loss of her arm and leg as a result of the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010.  We woke her up at 2:00 am, so she could go with us to the pick up baby and mom. The presence of Mariline was very comforting to the young and very frightened Haitian mom. As they conversed in Creole, Mariline reassured Fabienne that we would help and care for them and that we loved Jesus. We prayed!

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-01-20-pmOrleans was admitted to Medical City Children’s PICU and was very sick.  It was touch and go for a while with several major surgeries, including jaw distraction, tracheostomy, and the placement of a g-tube. Through these surgeries, along with amazing care, Orleans was going in the right direction. Fabienne, who would not go near any of the IVs or tubes necessary to keep Orleans alive, would eventually have a transformation almost as great as Orleans.

Orleans and Fabienne ended up staying at our house for three months. As Orleans got better, day-by-day, we grew to love this dear family. I had to learn how to feed Orleans through his G tube and change and suction his trach. I prayed.

The day came when they could return home to Haiti. I had become a mom to Fabienne, and she had grown into a wonderful mom and caregiver to Orleans.

Orleans is healthy and three years old today. He attends preschool and talks up a storm. Fabienne is attending nursing school in Haiti, a dream of hers so she can always take care of her son. I get a phone call every month from Fabienne, “Hello, Nana. How are you? Orleans and I are doing well.  We love you.” My heart melts! I am thankful we got the call that day. I pray!

 

“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 30:17

robin hobar2

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Hobar
LEAP Co-Founder

Mariline’s Story

By | Blog, Disaster Relief, Haiti, Landmark Program, LEAP Stories | No Comments

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-03-07-pmAs we remember the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti four years ago this week, we are reminded of the dedicated volunteers, avid supporters, and unforgettable patients that LEAP encountered during the disaster. One of the many patients seen by LEAP in the months after the earthquake, Mariline has a story like no other.

She was just a few short months away from realizing her dream and the dream of her family: becoming the first in her family to graduate from university. Her plans were to earn a degree in accounting and finance, get a job, and help her family get out of the endless cycle of poverty. She was sitting in class waiting for the afternoon lecture to start when she felt a tremble. She looked up and saw the roof cracking, and then everything went black. When she awoke, her left arm was trapped underneath her dead classmate. There was a desk against her head and three other lifeless bodies around her. All she could hear were occasional voices in the area. She prayed constantly.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-03-17-pmHer brother, Gesnie, came to the school and searched the rubble from sun up to sun down. He could find no evidence of his sister. He was taken out back on the second day, where he was told to look under a tarp and sort through the hundreds of lifeless young bodies to see if his sister was there. After two days, darkness came,and hope began to fade. He and Mariline continued praying. Over the next two and a half days, Mariline would repeatedly hear, “I am going.” Then the voice behind it went silent. Mariline developed an almost unbearable thirst.

At 2 A.M., Gesnie received a call from an unknown man (who Gesnie now feels was an angel), telling him that he had heard his sister’s voice and that she had given him this number. The man described exactly where Mariline was in the rubble of the collapsed four-story building. With a friend, a flashlight, a chain, and a hacksaw, Gesnie made his way to the spot where the man had heard the faint cries of someone trapped.

He created enough space to climb in, push the dead bodies and the desk away, and hoist his sister over his shoulder. Her left arm was lifeless. He took her to the closest hospital, but there were no doctors, no nurses, and no medicines. He took Mariline home  Two days later, they heard of a relief team from Germany that was at Hopital Espoir (Hope Hospital). They quickly took Mariline to receive their aid. There, her left arm was amputated just beneath the shoulder. She had severe wounds to her scalp and left leg that went untreated. Six weeks into her hospitalization, still weak and sick,  Mariline was transferred by pickup truck to Port-au-Prince where the LEAP team was set up in the Haitian Community Hospital. There, she was operated on several times. She initially responded, but the infection in her leg became worse.

The LEAP teams ended up caring for more than 1,000 patients, but this case was too severe to be further treated in Haiti. Dr. Hobar received a frantic e-mail, pleading for help for this young, dying women. The only way to save her life was to amputate the infected leg, which was done at the Haitian Community Hospital. Still, she was fighting for her life with a critically low blood level and a lack of antibiotics or blood transfusion. At the time, it was nearly impossible to get patients out of Haiti into America. The LEAP volunteer team went into action, and with the help of Senator Cornyn’s office, connections were made to Washington D.C., where great servants of our country gave up their holiday time and spent Easter weekend working with their counterparts in Haiti to get necessary approval. Thanks to the LEAP Landmark Fund, Dr. Ale Mitchell accompanied Mariline and her sister to Dallas, Texas. Mariline was immediately taken to Baylor Hospital. Blood transfusions, antibiotics, aided nutrition, and five surgeries brought Mariline through the crisis, but she was now facing life without an arm or leg.

She and her sister stayed with the Hobars for a four-month rehabilitation, and Mariline was fitted with a world-class prosthetic arm and leg. Once she had regained her health, Mariline moved to New Jersey to live with her aunt and cousin and continue her rehabilitation. Mariline is now back to school and continuing on her path to fulfilling her dreams.

Haiti: Never Forgotten

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

haiti-2010-earthquake-dr-hobarThis week marks the 4th anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January of 2010. Dr. Hobar and LEAP responded to the cries of thousands in Haiti who had been trapped and maimed by the earthquake. He dropped everything to go and meet the extreme needs of the people there. As Dr. Hobar had received part of his medical training in the neighboring Dominican Republic, he felt comfortable to help.

Not only were his surgical skills in high demand, but his leadership and coordinating capabilities were called into action as well. Through the efforts of Dr. Hobar and other team members, LEAP created organization amidst chaos and coordinated relief efforts of medical volunteers who flooded in from all over the world. In fact, LEAP’s medical expertise and leadership were so helpful in Haiti that the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS) asked LEAP to partner with them in implementing the current ISAPS-LEAP Surgical Relief Teams© program.

Since LEAP is committed to excellence in follow up care, many subsequent trips have been made to Haiti. We plan on having a lasting presence there as Haiti continues to heal and rebuild after the devastation.