25th Anniversary Gala: A Legacy of Love, A Future of Hope (6/6)

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Ellie and Drew HolcombThe incomparable Drew and Ellie Holcomb provided the evening’s entertainment and greatly blessed everyone with their incredible voices. It was so lovely to hear their stories and share themselves in such a personal way with our Gala attendees. So warm and engaging, it was the best evening EVER!

Thank you to everyone in the room who made this evening so special, celebrating our 25th year of humanitarian service. We look forward to another 25h years of providing hope, help, and healing to the global communities in which we serve!

25th Anniversary Gala: A Legacy of Love, A Future of Hope (5/6)

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img_7411To close the evening’s program, Dr. Eric Payne (pictured) introduced a stunningly beautiful video of a patient named Tenaka whom he cared for in Zimbabwe while serving as a team leader in June. For all that makes this story so special — vulnerability, transformation, gratitude — these qualities are seen in nearly every patient that LEAP serves. Dr. Payne beautifully stated this is what makes surgical mission work so rewarding.

Thank you, Eric, for your leadership and for sharing our work in Zimbabwe at the Gala. Stay tuned for this video that we will share with you in the near future!

25th Anniversary Gala: A Legacy of Love, A Future of Hope (4/6)

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Dr. Craig Hobar and Gala Co-Chair Ray Nixon

Dr. Craig Hobar and Gala Co-Chair Ray Nixon

As only Dr. Craig Hobar can, he shared his heart and legacy of love that began with his first mission trip in the Dominican Republic in 1991. Always humble, Dr. Hobar acknowledged all who have helped to make LEAP a better organization and are helping grow LEAP’s legacy by giving God another instrument to work through. While there may have been a lot of reasons to quit over the past 25 years, Dr. Hobar shared that there remains an unstoppable commitment to restore where there is brokenness — without concern for the limitations of time, distance, or wealth. While more work is to be done, Dr. Hobar appreciated the positive impact LEAP has had on our global family.

25th Anniversary Gala: A Legacy of Love, A Future of Hope (3/6)

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L to R: Ann Higginbottom, Dr. Craig Hobar, Robin Hobar, Landmark recipient Li Ying, and her mother, Mrs. Jin

L to R: Ann Higginbottom, Dr. Craig Hobar, Robin Hobar, Landmark recipient Li Ying, and her mother, Mrs. Jin

Ann Higginbottom, Executive Director of Kershaw’s Challenge, shared with the 400 Gala attendees that the humanitarian award given to Robin and Craig Hobar was a gift by her family members, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw. The Kershaws wanted to honor the Hobars and their outstanding commitment to helping children receive free surgical care in the most remote regions of the world by funding an Emergency Room at our host hospital in Haiti, which also included a new Operating Room, Recovery Room, and 2,500 square foot new Outpatient Clinic.

Originally, all had anticipated this award as a future project; however, after several months of planning, our very hard-working construction team, led by longtime LEAP supporters Janet and Pat Ortega, flew to Haiti in September and worked tirelessly to complete the construction portion of the project just in time for the Gala. By the time the team travels in early November, the project will be fully completed!

25th Anniversary Gala: A Legacy of Love, A Future of Hope (2/6)

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img_7449Our program included a moving video about beloved Landmark recipient Li Ying from China, who has been a LEAP patient for over ten years. Li Ying first came to the US in 2005, receiving two highly complex surgeries. Li Ying’s life was forever changed, and she has since returned for additional medical and surgical care. Li Ying has become family, especially to Robin and Craig Hobar, who she warmly refers to as “her grandparents”. There was no one more special than Li Ying to help present the Hobars with such an incredible award for all of their humanitarian efforts in the global community over the past 25 years.

L to R: Li Ying’s mother Mrs. Jin, LEAP Director of Missions Kristin McCool, LEAP Missions Coordinator Donna Matthews, and Li Ying

25th Anniversary Gala: A Legacy of Love, A Future of Hope (1/6)

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img_7430We truly celebrated our 25th milestone year last night with 400 guests at the beautiful Dallas Country Club. The evening’s celebration began with lovely music by the Dallas String Quartet and was followed by a very warm welcome from Co-Chair Ray Nixon, who generously gave his time and heart to this special event for which planning first began almost a year ago. Rev. Robby Higginbottom of Park Cities Presbyterian Church blessed the evening with a very special prayer.

Left to Right: Dr. Jeffrey Cone, Rev. Robby Higginbottom, Ray Nixon, Ann Higginbottom, and Dr. Eric Payne

L to R: Dr. Jeffrey Cone, Rev. Robby Higginbottom, Ray Nixon, Ann Higginbottom, and Dr. Eric Payne

The evening’s program began with LEAP leader Dr. Jeffrey Cone, who spoke about LEAP and his first encounter with Dr. Craig Hobar. He shared why his service as team leader in Haiti has been particularly meaningful with light-hearted stories included! For those of you who have been fortunate to work with Jeffrey in the mission field, you know him to be a great leader, mentor, and humanitarian. It was a beautiful start to the evening’s program.


Dominican Republic: Mei-Lin

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dr11-ks-106-joaI was six years old when Dr. Craig Hobar performed the first cleft repair surgery on me. The entire LEAP team treated me like we were friends. I remember feeling very safe under their care, like nothing bad could ever happen. Dr. Hobar and his team also performed surgery on my mother and two brothers (pictured left). The connection I have with LEAP is special even now, years after my last surgery.


Pictured Left to Right: Odemaris Cabrera (Mei-Lin’s mother), Dr. Mei-Lin Joa, and Dr. Craig Hobar

Now at the age of 30, LEAP has an important place in my heart and my mind. It is part of me and who I’ve become in the personal and professional aspects of my life. After being a LEAP patient, I was inspired to become a doctor and focus on surgery. It has been a wonderful journey. My family is truly grateful for the loving treatment we’ve received through the years.

Dr. Mei-Lin Joa is a physician at Centro de Otorrinolaringología in Santo Domingo and Academia de la Fuerza Aerea in San Isidro, Dominican Republic. She recently got married and is expecting her first child. 



Dominican Republic: Samir

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14333102_10154336136022254_8125556799674367121_nSamir is an adorable 5-month old who was one of several children evaluated by our Dominican Republic mission team currently serving in Santo Domingo. On our first surgery day, this sweet baby had a successful repair of his cleft palate and traveled home the next day. We are blessed by the opportunity to help infants like Samir to receive free surgical care in this location where we have served for 25 years.





Landmark Program: Welcome Back, Li Ying!

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Li Ying Arrival 2 8-25-16

Left to Right: Co-Host Jane Lamon, LEAP Medical Volunteer Charlie Lin, Co-Host Aileen Chen, Mrs. Jin (Li Ying’s mother), Li Ying, and Co-Host Eric Lo

Landmark recipient Li Ying and her mother Mrs. Jin arrived safely from China on Thursday! Mother and daughter were cheerfully greeted at DFW Airport by an excited group of 23 people, including members of her co-host families, LEAP staff and volunteers, and the many who have followed Li Ying’s story since her first visit in 2005. Thank you all for giving Li Ying and Mrs. Jin such a warm welcome!

Li Ying will have her 3-plus hour surgery on September 2 at Medical City Children’s Hospital. If you would like to volunteer to sit with Mrs. Jin in the waiting room, please contact Ashley at (972) 566-6550 or ashley@leapmissions.org.



International Disaster Relief: Dr. Nina Naidu

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IMG_0958Dr. Nina Naidu was part of the Lebanon Mission 2 team that traveled and served in Saida over seven days earlier this month. This team of three plastic surgeons and one anesthesiologist provided care to over 80 Syrian and Palestinian refugees, including almost 40 surgeries on children who had been directly injured by bomb blasts or other war-related injuries, or was due to their subsequent displacement and poor living conditions.


According to Dr. Naidu, “I had always wanted to do relief work, [but] it took me many years to be able to make the mental and physical commitment to go on a mission.” Grateful for the experience, Dr. Naidu ultimately felt there were many reasons that drove her to complete this mission, including “a desire to give back, a feeling of helplessness when reading the news every morning, and simply a need to fulfill some inner calling.” While in Lebanon, she was “struck by how stoic our young patients and their parents were; after having witnessed so much trauma in their short lives, undergoing elective surgery under controlled conditions must have seemed comparatively easy.” While relief work was ultimately a very personal one for her, Dr. Naidu felt her life had “certainly been changed by [her] experience.” It was her greatest hope that the team was able to make the lives of at least a few of their patients a little bit easier.