All posts by Ashley Winder

LEAP’s Surgical Mission Team Leaders Look Ahead to 2018

By | Blog, Haiti, India, Mission Program, Volunteers, Zimbabwe | No Comments
Dianne Altuna

Dianne Altuna

We recently asked some of LEAP’s 2017 Medical Team Leaders, who offer guidance and support to our surgical teams while on mission, to share their hopes and advice for LEAP in the coming year.

  • Dianne Altuna is a Speech Pathologist who co-led our final trip to Haiti this year with LEAP Missions Coordinator Donna Matthews. She has served on 5 surgical missions with LEAP, the first being to Haiti in April 2015. She also volunteers in our office and warehouse.
  • Dr. Evan Beale is a Plastic Surgeon who served as a Team Lead on our final trip to Haiti this year and has served on 6 surgical missions with LEAP, starting with our 2012 mission to Zimbabwe.  
  • Dr. Eric Payne is a Plastic Surgeon who has served as a Team Lead two years in a row on the Zimbabwe mission. He has traveled with LEAP on 8 total surgical missions—4 to India, 3 to Zimbabwe, and 1 to Haiti.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Richards is an Anesthesiologist from Australia who served as an Anesthesia Lead for LEAP on the Zimbabwe mission this year. She has served on 5 surgical missions with LEAP, the first being to Zimbabwe in 2012
Dr. Evan Beale

Dr. Evan Beale

As a LEAP Team Leader, what do you hope 2018 has in store for LEAP?

Dianne Altuna: That LEAP is able to continue to provide blessings to individuals and their families who have a facial difference in many countries where these types of services are not readily available. And that these blessings for those LEAP works with become blessings for each volunteer on the trip.

Dr. Evan BealeI hope we continue to grow the number of surgeries we do, increase the volunteers we enlist, continue to expand our donor base, and to touch as many lives around the globe as possible.

Dr. Eric Payne

Dr. Eric Payne

Dr. Eric PayneI hope 2018 brings LEAP new opportunities to help change more children’s lives than ever before, so we can show the love and hope of Christ. 

Dr. Elizabeth Richards:  I would like 2017, the year of Jubilee, to welcome 2018, a brand-new year of excitement, hope and mercy for all peoples of the nations. The world is experiencing a turn of tide, and this is affecting the innocent in not only their well-being, but their hope, their freedoms and their opportunities to face the world and fulfill their destinies. I would love to see LEAP increase the repertoire of people they serve through medical care and ministry.  

What advice/insight would you give to next year’s volunteer leaders?

Dr. Elizabeth Richards

Dr. Elizabeth Richards

Dianne Altuna: Be flexible! And, if you are a Team Leader, work with the other Team Leaders to help solve challenges. Sometimes, another Lead may have new ideas and a new way to help a challenge become a win-win for everyone. There is not one person on any trip that is more important than another; each person brings to the trip a set of skills, these skills may be different but may, in the long run, help the entire team.

Dr. Evan Beale:  Get to know your team as well as you can.

Dr. Eric Payne: Stay positive in the face of adversity because you are doing good in the world, and it will be a struggle with many unexpected problems to face. You must encourage everyone to keep working hard and they will rise to the occasion to solve every problem. 

Dr. Elizabeth Richards: Most of all, enjoy the experience and the joy that comes with serving ‘the least of one of these’. Fulfillment is an end product of giving your services without expecting anything in return. And don’t forget the blessings you’ll get from the All Mighty God! There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain! 

 

Haiti Reflections: Dylan Bengtson

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

IMG_7932Dylan Bengston is a non-medical volunteer (and cousin to Blake Bengston, who we featured on the blog last summer) who traveled with LEAP on our October mission to Haiti. We caught up with him to learn more about his experience. Here’s what he had to say.

Being a part of the LEAP surgical mission to Haiti was definitely one of the most influential, eye-opening experiences of my whole life. The team I was able to work with and all of the patients were absolutely fantastic, and I feel so blessed to have been a part of it. Everyone on the team was so focused and engaged in our objective while we were there, and it was incredible to learn under so many professionals. I think LEAP is an amazing organization. We were able to have a fun time while still focusing fully on whatever task was at hand. I became close with so many awesome people, and that was definitely one of my favorite parts of the whole experience. I learned so much about not only medicine but also about the people of Haiti and the country itself.

IMG_7840One of my favorite moments was seeing one young patient with a cleft lip and palate who was around 3 months old. Everyone was infatuated with his smile and spirit. and he was just the most uplifting little guy, even while he was going through a tough experience. Overall, it was amazing to see the look on all of the parents’ faces when their kids got out of surgery, and I loved being able to tell them that everything went great and just see the hope in their eyes.

The trip was different than I thought it would be in a good way. In no way at all was the atmosphere stressful or tense at any time, and everyone on the team always had a smile on their face. My heart was very touched with the impact that we were able to have and all of the lives we were able to improve.

Haiti: Seven Years of Hope and Healing

By | Blog, Disaster Relief, Haiti, LEAP Stories, Mission Program | No Comments
haiti-2010-earthquake-dr-hobar

Dr. Craig Hobar in Haiti after the earthquake

It has been 7 years since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti. Its epicenter was a mere 16 miles from the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives, and those who survived lost nearly everything else.

On Day 4 after the quake, accompanied by Drs. Ale and Ian Mitchell, LEAP Founder Dr. Craig Hobar worked around the clock, amputating gangrenous limbs and repairing facial injuries of victims pulled from the rubble in Port-au-Prince.

LEAP then sent rotating surgical teams for 6 months, during which time we developed a close partnership with locally based Hopital Espoir and saw the extreme need for continued surgical care beyond our disaster relief efforts.

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Shout for Joy

By | Blog, Mission Program, Zimbabwe | No Comments

sat-12-31joy3Sweet Cerys shouts for joy in Harare Children’s Hospital, where we not only offer surgical assistance but also education and training to healthcare providers based there. The joyful nature of the children in Zimbabwe is truly something to behold and inspires our teams to keep working hard, despite the long hours.

Thanks For Giving: Warehouse Volunteer Cyndi Banish

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

img_8397-1Cyndi Banish’s MBA with expertise in Project Management in Health Care has been invaluable to LEAP through her weekly service in our warehouse. She has done an amazing job helping us get more organized with improved processes. Her natural ability to manage our medical supplies and equipment at every stage has created efficiencies that enable our surgical mission teams to do their best work on the ground. Her efforts may not be seen by many, but they are felt by all.

 

 

Thanks For Giving: Youth Volunteer Brian Buckenham

By | Blog, LEAP Stories, Volunteers | No Comments
buckenham_1095As a longstanding patient of Dr. Hobar’s and all-around impressive young man, Brian Buckenham selected LEAP as his Eagle Scout project at the age of 14. Through a garage sale and fundraising efforts, he raised $3,300 to buy and assemble post-op totes for all of LEAP’s mission patients for one year. Brian–a senior at St. Mark’s in Dallas and co-captain of the Robotics team–has continued this work far beyond that initial project, providing comfort and care to more than 1,000 for the past 2.5 years. He also helps us on warehouse workdays and at events, and he traveled with LEAP on a surgical mission to Belize in 2014.
 
“While I was in Belize, I saw a baby brought into the operating room still holding a yellow smiley-face ball that I included in one of the post-op care totes,” Brian reflects. “Then seeing the baby come out of surgery with a brand-new smile made a big impact on me.”

The Ripple Effect of Giving

By | Blog, Landmark Program, LEAP Stories, Volunteers | No Comments

g99a5318-jin-li-ying-doug-lamon-1Do you know the origins of our Landmark Program? When we first started doing mission trips, we soon learned there were some special children who required care beyond what was safe to perform in their home countries. Despite our desire to help, without a funding source, that would not have been impossible. When he heard about the need, Doug Lamon generously committed to provide the necessary financial resources to heal these children. Thanks to him, we’ve brought more than 40 children to the U.S. for extensive surgical repair(s). Doug’s family has become highly involved in the organization as well.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-10-03-59-amJane Lamon has been involved with LEAP as both a medical mission volunteer and a host mom for the Landmark Program. She most recently opened her beautiful home to our beloved Li Ying for her final surgery after 10 years of being treated by Dr. Hobar. Regarding being a host mom, “It’s about being simple,” says Jane, “and understanding that we’re here to help one another.”

g99a5095-matt-and-abby-lamon-1Matt is the youngest of three generations of Lamons who have been actively involved with LEAP. Matt first went on a mission trip with his mom, Jane, to Laos when he was a teenager. He was so inspired by the humanitarian aspect of medicine that he decided to go to medical school.

Matt is now married and finishing up medical school with the goal of practicing emergency medicine. His wife, Abby, also volunteers with LEAP and will graduate from PA school soon. “It’s cool seeing LEAP’s involvement in three generations of my family—hopefully more to come,” says Matt. “I think it goes to show anyone can get involved with this kind of work if you’ve got a willing heart.”

Thanks For Giving: Medical Volunteer Phuong Luong

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

haiti-nov-2015-phuongDallas-based pediatric anesthetist Phuong Luong is a rockstar team lead in the mission field, where she trains and mentors new medical volunteers to help grow our future leaders. She also keeps track of our supplies in the warehouse; she inventories, packs, and secures donations of much-needed equipment and medical supplies. She is kind, hardworking, and cool under pressure–and she uses those skills to bless our patients in countless ways.

Over the past four years, Phuong has participated on 18 medical mission trips to the following locations:
Haiti – 9 trips
India – 3 trips
DR – 1 trip
Zimbabwe – 3 trips
Belize – 2 trips
Total distance traveled – 146,688 miles

Thank you, Phuong, for your globe-trotting giving heart!

Thanks For Giving: Non-Medical Volunteer Janet Ortega

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

janet-ortega-leap_hamilton-3449Janet Ortega has an endless capacity to give, and she does so through LEAP in many ways. She has traveled once to Zimbabwe and five times to Haiti on LEAP mission trips, where she brings food, clothing, and Bibles for the families we treat. She and her husband Pat also led the Pediatric Ward build in 2014 as well as the recent OR, ER, and Outpatient Clinic construction in honor of the Hobars’ 25 years of service through LEAP at our host hospital in Port-au-Prince. Last year, she hosted our Landmark recipient Neisha as a host mom. We are grateful for her humanitarian heart!

Haiti Honorary Expansion Project

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

img_4826In 2014, one of our greatest highlights was giving witness to another beautiful unfolding prayer as to how God uses us in extraordinary ways to bless others. As many of you may know, Janet and Pat Ortega took on the charge of leading and building a 2,000 sq. ft. Pediatric Ward at our partner hospital in Haiti, Hopital Espoir, which has benefited thousands of impoverished children living in this dense geographic region.

img_4825This September, LEAP once again sent a construction team, led by the Ortegas, to Haiti to build an Emergency Room with an Operating Room and Recovery Rooms, along with a new 2,500 sq. ft. Outpatient Clinic. Several months of planning went into this project, which served as an expansion of the Pediatric Ward. The project was completed just in time for our 25th anniversary Gala that included a surprise honorary award presentation at the event.

To honor Robin and Craig Hobar and their quarter-century of humanitarian service, this recent legacy project was specially funded by Ellen and Clayton Kershaw. The Kershaws wanted to recognize the Hobars’ outstanding commitment to helping children receive free surgical care in the most remote regions of the world. This weekend, our medical mission team took part in a dedication to celebrate the hope of healing, made possible by the hearts and hands of our amazing construction team and the Kershaws’ tremendous generosity.