Monthly Archives: November 2015

Joyful Giving: Every Child Counts

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We need your help! LEAP Global Missions believes that every child counts, so much so that we have traveled 100,000 miles this year to reach children living in impoverished regions around the world who were in need of complex surgical care, primarily for craniofacial deformities. Often times, these children are shunned by their communities and hidden away by their families without options for needed medical and surgical care. At LEAP, we are thankful to have the opportunity to impact these children’s lives in a meaningful way.

This year, we had the opportunity to help Danny through our Landmark Program. This is Danny’s amazing story:

10377531_10152318261373053_2325245596250205011_nDanny was an orphan in China born with very severe facial deformities. He was abandoned as an infant and transported around orphanages for nearly ten years. Little is actually known about his early life, but most agree that he was probably mistreated due to his appearance, the way he spoke, and his partial blindness. Without the proper medical and surgical care, which was simply not available to him in China, Danny was expected to live the remainder of his childhood in an orphanage

Danny on Plane Nov 2014LEAP Global Missions heard about Danny and immediately answered the call to help. After careful planning and consideration, Danny arrived in Dallas on November 8, 2014. He had a lengthy surgery followed by two other complex surgeries over several months with later placement of a prosthetic eye. Danny adjusted well to living in the United States, staying with a loving host family that included three children of their own, attending school full-time with a Mandarin-speaking special education teacher, learning English, gaining weight and confidence, and receiving weekly speech therapy. For the first time, Danny could have a very different future that he only dreamt about.

PCH, Danny, Martin Rojas Nov 2014Danny is truly special. Everyone was so taken by his joyful spirit. He captured the hearts of everyone that he crossed paths with and became rather famous in the Grapevine community. So many people began to help get the word out with the hope of finding a special family to adopt him. Finally, after several months, one amazing family connected with LEAP after hearing about Danny’s story on social media. They were so taken with Danny that they soon began to make plans to adopt him. We are so proud to share that Danny will soon travel to China with his adopted family to make it official! Danny’s new mom is a physician; he will have two brothers and two adopted sisters and will live in Kansas City.
IMG_4258As you can see, LEAP Global Missions provides needed surgical care to children in need; more importantly, we provide the opportunity for a fuller, healthier life. Through our three programs, LEAP travels to impoverished regions to provide surgical care, brings children with the most complex surgical needs to Dallas for treatment, and also sends surgical teams in the event of an international disaster. Over the past 24 years, we have helped to transform the lives of over 9,000 children living in 21 countries.

Danny - Cohen_5X7_0071lab_FBWithout your generous support, LEAP could not have the same impact on these children, their families, and those living within their community. We hope that you will consider helping to financially support our mission again this year so that other children like Danny will continue to benefit. As you prayerfully consider your donation, we ask that you also consider making a monthly donation.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  – Matthew 6:21

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What Child is This

By | Blog, Haiti, LEAP Stories, Volunteers | No Comments

Story by Kendra Dorsey, Speech Therapist

IMG_20151114_120155-2New to this mission trip was the first Speech Therapy Program offered in Haiti. This was my first mission trip with LEAP; I had no idea what to expect or how great the need would be. Once we arrived in Haiti on Thursday evening, we went straight to the hospital to begin evaluations. Of all of the speech therapy evaluations that we did that night, there was one that particularly touched my heart.

Baby girl Jennalson was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. At only six weeks of age, she was both too young and too small for surgery. To prepare her for surgery in April 2016, she will need to weigh at least 10 lbs. After watching Jennalson’s mom feed her, we provided her with some feeding techniques and recommendations to help increase the amount of formula being taken in, including feeding her every 2-3 hours both during the day and at night. We also provided mom with a special bottle made of flexible plastic, allowing her to squeeze the bottle at the same time Jennalson sucks to prevent exhaustion during feeding. Mom seemed to understand, but she also seemed hesitant about the new instructions. We sent her home and asked her to return on Saturday for follow-up.

I couldn’t tell if Jennalson’s mom would actually return, but I was so hopeful they would. On Saturday morning when the team arrived at the hospital early, there they were! During the three hours that it took to travel back to the hospital, Jennalson had already eaten so she wasn’t very hungry. We asked mom if they could stay two hours to observe the next feeding. After waiting, Jennalson awoke and was ready to eat! Her mom held her up straight and put the bottle in her mouth, and she took 75 mL in about 20 minutes! It was so beautiful to see! Her mom was smiling and so happy that her new instructions were working.

It was truly an honor to be able to help little Jennalson get better nutrition for her small frame. I know she will have little chubby cheeks when the LEAP team returns in April. It will be such a blessing to see her ready for surgery!

Joined and Held Together

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Story by Jennifer Francis, LEAP Haiti Team Member

12244574_10153642015032254_7013764182630319206_oPhysicians working with LEAP on this trip set the record for longest surgery of the trip thus far with an 8-hour operation on 2-year old Fernando. Shortly after Fernando was born, a growth began to develop on his upper-left neck, the result of an abnormality in the lymphatic system.

The boy’s condition, called lymphangioma, resulted in a continually growing mass that at the time of the operation had expanded from the floor of his mouth to the middle of his neck. The mass was comprised of several sacs that filled the entire area of the neck, adding pressure on the structure of the neck and risking damage to critical nerves and arteries that control the boy’s tongue, swallowing, lip movement, voice, and gastroenterology system.

The main nerves and arteries of Fernando’s neck were running either through the mass or right up alongside it, requiring Drs. John McClay, John Wood, and Steve Orten to carefully work around the nerves to remove it from the boy’s neck without damaging them. Without the surgery, the boy’s growth would have continued to expand into his neck and upper chest, making it increasingly harder to remove, blocking the airways and causing breathing and swallowing issues.

Fernando’s mother Sherly took him to several doctors in Haiti throughout his life – a Haitian doctor, a Cuban doctor, and even an American doctor – none of whom were able to operate due to the dangerous location of the mass. The LEAP team had tried to facilitate Fernando receiving his surgery in the United States because his father lives in New York, but unfortunately, Fernando and his mom were not able to get a medical visa, despite LEAP’s help and Dr. McClay’s handwritten letter to the Haitian embassy pleading his case. As the LEAP team followed him, Fernando’s case was delayed due to a lack of radiological imaging of the growth and limited throat specialists.

When Dr. McClay met pediatric ENT Dr. Wood, he was confident that he was the perfect specialist to partner with him to repair Fernando’s condition. Dr. McClay attributes the timing of the events to the Lord and knows His timing was behind everything coming together to make Fernando’s surgery possible on the team’s current visit to Haiti. Thank you to these three surgeons who truly made a difference in this young boy’s life!

Child of the Light

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Story by Jennifer Francis, LEAP Haiti Team Member

Haiti Nov 2015 - Laurene Pierre & mom. - editedLaurene P. is a six-year-old who came for pre-operative evaluation by our team in Haiti, hoping for surgical repair of her facial cleft. Laurene had previously come for evaluations, but due to full OR schedules and the complexities involved in her needed surgery, this simply wasn’t possible before. Fortunately, her condition hadn’t caused her any physical pain, but Laurene shared that she very much wanted others, particularly her classmates, to simply look at her and smile. Laurene wanted to feel happy when she looked in the mirror.

We are so happy to share that this sweet child had her surgery yesterday! Surgeons brought her nasal bones and cartilage together to actually form a nose. This was only possible because of the specialized surgeons traveling with LEAP on this trip. On future trips and as Laurene grows, other surgeries will most likely be needed. This is what we do best, help children over a period of years to receive the surgeries they will need.

While waiting for her daughter’s surgery, Laurene’s mother Mirana, a single mother who lived with her parents and who had little support from her local church, shared that she was so thankful and overwhelmed by LEAP’s help. One of LEAP’s team members presented Mirana with a Creole Bible, reading from Psalms and offering her hope and encouragement. Later in the day, mom was seen sitting with her daughter, turning the pages of her brand new Bible!

Please join me in praying that God would speak personally to Mirana, that He would show her His face, and that His grace would be irresistible to her.

But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Psalm 39:7

Giving Tuesday is December 1st!

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#GivingTuesday (#GT) is a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the giving season added to the calendar on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. The fourth annual Giving Tuesday is on December 1, 2015. In the same way that retail stores take part in Black Friday, we want the giving community to come together for #GivingTuesday. To donate to LEAP Global Missions on Giving Tuesday, visit leapmissions.org/donate