Monthly Archives: December 2014

Update on Danny

By | Blog, Landmark Program, News | No Comments

Wow, Danny has had so many wonderful things happening in the last three weeks! He has continued to heal and recover well from his surgeries, including beginning speech therapy with the fabulous Erin Bernett to help him learn to speak for the very first time. Danny has also started school in Grapevine and is doing well in his new school environment, working closely with a teacher who speaks Mandarin Chinese! Danny also has his own iPad to work with in class. He is learning to speak English as a second language.

Danny has also become delightfully infused into the Rojas family, moving into two-year-old Luke’s room, who absolutely adores Danny. Often Luke is imitating Danny, trying to learn all kinds of things, such as how to make a peace sign that frequently is accompanied by Danny’s giant smile. Danny has also been catching up on eating many new and wonderful foods, gaining weight and happily growing in grace after his surgeries.

More appointments are scheduled in January and February with specialists to help Danny continue to have as many medical and surgical benefits as possible. We are so blessed to have Danny be a part of our LEAP family. Thank you to all who have already helped make his stay comfortable and welcoming by providing gift cards, meals, clothing, etc. If you would like to be a part of Danny’s story, please contact Ashley at (972) 566-6550 or ashleywinder@leap-foundation.org

Merciful and Mighty

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

haiti-2010-earthquake-dr-hobarIn 2010, only a few short days after the New Year greeted the beautiful people of Haiti and celebrations had subsided, a catastrophic earthquake ravaged Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives with mass destruction to an extensive geographic area.

Dr. P. Craig Hobar, Director of International Craniofacial Development of Medical City Children’s Hospital and the Founder and Medical Director of the LEAP Foundation (LEAP), a non-profit that has provided free specialized craniofacial surgery to children in impoverished regions around the world for 23 years, saw the devastation being reported in Haiti and quickly made his way to help provide surgical care to those in need, literally days after the earthquake occurred.

Dr. Ale Garcia-Mitchell, Dr. Hobar, and LEAP organized a disaster relief program where 21 surgical teams from around the U.S. and Canada provided complex surgical reconstructive procedures to earthquake victims over the next six months.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-41-40-pmDuring these months of early recovery, Dr. Anna Tran and Dr. Joy Touchstone, both Dallas-based pediatricians, answered a call to serve in Haiti, traveling with another medical organization that was sending teams to help in the region. While in Haiti, Drs. Tran and Touchstone evaluated a male infant, Orleanswho was only six weeks old, diagnosing him with Pierre Robin sequence, a condition caused by a smaller than normal lower jaw that often results in the tongue falling in the back of the throat, potentially impairing breathing. According to his mom Fabienne, Orleans had already experienced bouts in which he had stopped breathing, and she was having great difficulty in feeding him.

While trying to locate a hospital to accept Orleans in the United States, no easy task since many were already inundated with emergency patients transferred from Haiti, Fabienne began to tell Drs. Tran and Touchstone a most remarkable story.

Orleans had stopped breathing one day, and a frightened Fabienne quickly made her way to seek help from a local physician. After she arrived, she was told that Orleans had died; he was carefully wrapped in a blanket, taken to the morgue, and left amongst others with a similar fate. Only because of an astute passerby who heard tiny muffled sounds emerging from the wrapped body of Orleans did they realize that he had actually survived, fighting again for every breath to live. He was urgently taken to the floor and carefully watched over by Fabienne and other most grateful medical providers.

While Drs. Tran and Touchstone did their initial exam of Orleans, they noticed that there were several times in which he would cry and his heart stopped; furthermore, he was unable to eat and was frequently choking. Not having the benefit of diagnostically visualizing his anatomy, placement of a feeding tube was not possible. But Orleans was a fighter, and Drs. Tran and Touchstone were very determined guardians.

Requiring round-the-clock care and aggressive resuscitation, Dr. Tran literally sent out a 911 plea to a list of approximately 50 professional colleagues to see if they could help connect a surgeon to transfer and care for Orleans. Not only was Dr. Hobar the only person who responded, but he actually called Dr. Tran in Haiti within an hour to see how he could help. Remarkable!

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-41-46-pmNot long afterward, Dr. Hobar connected with Medical City Children’s Hospital, who was extremely committed to helping beyond most in the southern region, agreeing to generously provide an airplane and a nurse to transfer Orleans and Fabienne to Dallas. An emergency visa for both were obtained, a small miracle in and of itself, and in the middle of the night, Dr. Hobar and his wife, Robin, met the team in Dallas at the airport, along with Mariline, a young woman and Haitian earthquake survivor who had been recovering in the Hobar home for a couple of months after a lengthy stay at a local hospital. Mariline, who spoke to Fabienne in Creole, her native language, comforted a frightened Fabienne, assuring her that her prayers had been answered and that she was now in safe, capable hands.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-41-54-pmOrleans was admitted to Medical City Children’s Hospital Intensive Care Unit where he was extremely well cared for by the medical staff. The first few days were difficult on Fabienne in this very new environment filled with multiple monitors and procedures being performed on her small son, but the nursing staff fully embraced them both. After finding a Creole-speaking nurse, the hospital staff was not only able to calm and reassure Fabienne, but they also began to work with her to help with Orleans’ care, something that did not come easy to Fabienne.

Now, Orleans is four years old, and he is a most remarkable, healthy boy who loves life and is filled with joy. Each time that LEAP travels to Haiti, Fabienne and Orleans come to visit Dr. Hobar and the team. Fabienne tells the story of how she was inspired by the nursing staff at Medical City Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and is now in her fourth year of nursing school, hoping to one day soon be able to care for other children as her own son had been cared for at Medical City Children’s Hospital. Drs. Tran and Touchstone now also travel regularly with LEAP on mission trips each year, helping many children in the mission fields across the globe.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-42-00-pmIt is quite phenomenal to see how so many have come together to help a single tiny infant with a strong will to live, who is now flourishing in every possible way. Other lives were also shaped and changed by this blessed child. When we share our love and talents with others, a seed blossoms, grows, and expands in ways we could not have ever imagined.

In years to come, we will see the depths of this love within Orleans and how he will do the same for others in his lifetime ahead. Today, LEAP continues to serve Haitian children, traveling to Port-au-Prince bi-annually since the acute earthquake recovery ended. In 2014, LEAP built and funded a state-of-the-art 2,000 square foot Pediatric Ward at our host hospital, Hopital Espoir, allowing for more healing and love to flourish in literally hundreds of Haitian children for many future generations to come. In addition, Medical City Children’s Hospital continues to partner with LEAP in order to bring the most challenging and severe craniofacial cases to Dallas, offering these children a long and healthy life they would not otherwise have.

New Medical Vounteer: Sarah Roffler, RN

By | Blog, Mission Program, Upcoming Trips, Volunteers | No Comments

DrRofflerNew to LEAP this year is sweet Sarah, who heard about us through another LEAP medical volunteer who works at Baylor Hospital. Sarah has been a missionary since she was a teenager, traveling on many mission trips around the world, including Russia, India, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Hong Kong, Philippines, Jamaica, Botswana, Alaska, Israel, Jordan, and South Africa, just to name a few!

While Sarah had been in the mission field many times, she had never traveled on a medical mission trip. Sarah, a registered nurse for several years, has worked in the Operating Room and Intensive Care Unit. Her specialty areas are Pediatrics, Maxillofacial, Oral, Eyes, and Plastics.

So, of course, after meeting Sarah, we just had to share a LEAP medical mission trip with her. In November, Sarah traveled to Haiti with the team. She fit in like she had always traveled with us, making a huge difference in the lives of the beautiful children of Haiti. Sarah will also be traveling with LEAP to India in February. We are so blessed by her dedication to service in the mission field.

A New Path

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If you have called the office or been involved with LEAP over the last 18 months, then you know Adella Winder, Communications Coordinator. She is the multi-talented angel in our office who spreads sunshine every day to every person who crosses her path.

IMG_4336For those of us who have worked with Adella every day in the office, we have been the fortunate benefactors of her many talents, her faithful dedication, and her loving heart. In January, Adella is moving to The Woodlands, just outside of Houston. The Woodlands will be closer to family and friends, and she will also begin a new chapter, a call to work with her church family as a leader of their Youth Ministry Program. While she will be greatly missed by everyone at LEAP, Adella’s new church family, the youth who she will lead, and her new friends in Houston will be infinitely blessed. Adella has been very involved with youth ministry for some time now; she has a perfect and beautiful heart for children.

Thank you, Adella, for all of the extraordinary work that you have done for LEAP, including bringing her awesome sister Ashley on board in the office (more on this later!).

We love you!

Oh Danny Boy

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10523847_10152841235002254_2133432211828913225_nSpend two minutes in a room with Danny, and you have fallen in love with him. He has an incredible joy and spirit that simply melts your heart. Much has been happening with our sweet boy Danny while he has been here, now almost one month.

Danny has had several hours of surgery performed by Dr. Craig Hobar and Dr. Grant Gilliland over two separate hospitalizations at Medical City Children’s Hospital. Danny has done wonderfully and is making great progress, all because of the love shared by his physicians, his blessed host family Martin and Brittan Rojas, the many healthcare providers at Medical City, and those of you who have made Danny’s stay more comfortable. A great big thank you to Chloe and Catherine, liaisons for the orphanage in China and Canada, who have helped Danny during both of his surgeries.

On Monday, Danny will start school with a primary teacher who speaks Mandarin Chinese. Danny is so smart and inquisitive; school will be exciting and stimulating for him. He is also working with a speech therapist to help him learn how to speak after his cleft palate repair. So many daily wonderful blessings happening for this young man and those of you are part of Danny’s journey. Go, Team Danny!