International Disaster Relief: Meet Dr. Kevin Healy

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Dr. Kevin Healy with two anesthesia residents in Lima, Peru in December 2015

Dr. Kevin Healy with two anesthesia residents in Lima, Peru in December 2015

Dr. Kevin Healy is an anesthesiologist living in Gainesville, FL. Retired from remunerative practice, he is active in international service, having served at seven hospitals in Trinidad, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Peru, Palestine, and Zimbabwe in the first half of 2016. Dr. Healy will join the ISAPS-LEAP Surgical Relief Teams© mission to Lebanon at the end of the month. Since first participating in the Haiti 2010 disaster relief missions, this will be Dr. Healy’s sixth mission with LEAP.




International Disaster Relief: Meet Dr. Adam Hamawy

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13592778_10154161312272254_6320019660486254566_nDr. Adam Hamawy is a fellowship trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon and owner of Princeton Plastic Surgeons. In addition to being an accomplished surgeon, Dr. Hamawy is an avid photographer. His ability to artistically capture the natural beauty in a landscape or that of a single flower has aided him in doing the very same for each and every one of his patients. At the end of the month, Dr. Hamawy will lead a team of plastic surgeons to serve on a week-long mission to al-Hamshari Hospital in Saida, Lebanon. This will be Dr. Hamawy’s fourth disaster relief surgical mission; he also traveled with our 2008 Belize mission team.

Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness Month: Ongoing Belize Mission Outreach

By | Belize, Blog, Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness Month, Upcoming Trips, Volunteers | No Comments
Belize.05.2012_Golden_Easterling_ThiessenOn average, about 1 in every 500-750 births worldwide results in a cleft. LEAP currently has a volunteer surgical mission team in Belize — a geographic region that has no plastic surgeons of its own — performing cleft lip and palate repairs, as we have done since 1995. Children like Cornelius (pictured here) would likely not receive surgical repair without the generosity of spirit found in the medical volunteers who travel on missions with LEAP.

Landmark Update: Misha

By | Blog, Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness Month, Landmark Program, News | No Comments

IMG_6938Every week for the past several weeks, Misha has seen Dr. Craig Hobar in the office to receive saline injections in his tissue expanders, which allows the affected tissue to stretch in preparation for his next surgery. This can create an unusual appearance and sensation, but Misha has tolerated his injections each week with a joyful spirit.

Misha’s next surgery by Dr. Hobar and Dr. John Burns is scheduled next Tuesday, July 12 at Medical City Children’s Hospital. He will have one overnight stay at the hospital. We ask for your prayers as we prepare for Misha’s second surgery. If you would like to join Silvia and our wonderful host family in the pediatric surgery waiting room or otherwise help, please contact Ashley Winder at or (972) 566-6550.

Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness Month: Danny’s Story

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10377531_10152318261373053_2325245596250205011_nSome cleft lip and palate repairs require multiple complex craniofacial surgeries as a child grows. In some of these more complex cases requiring a pediatric neurosurgeon or other more specialized medical provider, our Landmark Program works to bring children from their home countries to receive specialized medical care at Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas over the course of several weeks or months.

Danny - Cohen_5X7_0071lab_FBYou might remember the story of Landmark recipient Danny, who was orphaned as a baby due to his appearance, and over the course of his lengthy medical care, we helped facilitate his adoption. We are so thankful to our special donor, surgeons, other medical providers, host families, and other volunteers who make this program possible!

If you would like to support the Landmark Program, please contact Ashley Winder at or (972) 566-6550.

Read Danny's Story

Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness Month: Compassionate Medical Volunteers

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A cleft lip and palate medical team is generally comprised of a craniofacial plastic surgeon, an orthodontist, and a speech therapist, depending upon the child’s specific needs. Many patients with clefts require multiple surgeries and care by these and other specialists over several years. LEAP’s medical volunteers are an outstanding group of approximately 250 medical professionals who provide the same quality of care in the developing countries LEAP serves, often seeing our patients year after year for the same specialized care they would receive in the US. 

Haiti Nov 2015 - team

Pictured: LEAP Haiti Team, November 2015

Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness Month: Mission Outreach

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10454250_10152479744727254_5082661892217999022_oCleft lip and palate are among the most treatable birth defects in this country. In impoverished countries, many children grow up with unrepaired clefts due to lack of access to specialized surgical care. This often leads to social isolation as well as speech, feeding, and hearing problems.

When LEAP was in Zimbabwe in 2014, we learned of Ronald and newborn sister Thanxgod (pictured right with volunteer Linda Hardison), two of five children belonging to a mother who had to permanently leave her village and travel hundreds of miles to get surgical care for her two children with clefts. We were all inspired by her sacrifices and commitment to seeking care for her children for what is considered a standard surgical repair in the US.

July is Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness Month!

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IB34A2271n honor of Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness Month, we are reaching out to our LEAP family throughout July as part of our monthly donor campaign. Monthly donations help us to best plan for our charitable work throughout the calendar year.

In 2016, we have already helped approximately 75 children receive complex surgical care. Over nearly 25 years, we have completed over 9,000 surgeries, allowing children who live in deeply impoverished regions to return to a normal, healthy life within their communities.

To become a monthly donor, please click below to donate online or contact Ashley Winder at or (972) 566-6550. All new monthly donors will receive a LEAP t-shirt!


Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness Month: Restorative Healing

By | Blog, Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness Month, Zimbabwe | No Comments

tenaka_beforeafter_printCleft lip and palate are birth defects that occur while a baby is developing in the womb. During the 6th-10th weeks of pregnancy, separate areas of the face fuse to form the roof of the mouth and upper lip. When some of these areas do not join properly, a gap or split (cleft) occurs. While the cause is not known, evidence suggests a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Last year, LEAP performed over 100 cleft lip and/or palate surgical repairs for children living in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Zimbabwe, India, and Belize. Our free surgical services restore their features and empower them to return to their communities as welcomed, participating members.

Pictured: Four-month-old Tanaka, who lives over 300 km outside of Harare, Zimbabwe, before and after his free cleft lip surgery, thanks to LEAP’s 2016 surgical team.

What a Difference a Year Makes by Melissa Howell, NP

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

IMG_0795For me, the Zimbabwe 2016 trip was a huge accomplishment.  It was a testimony of God’s faith and healing powers.

Two days after I returned from the Zimbabwe 2015 trip, my life was forever changed. I was in a horrible accident and was not expected to make it. Along with a severe traumatic brain injury, multiple blood transfusions, CPR, life support, and amnesia for over 2 weeks, my outlook was not good. I spent three months in intense therapy learning to do things like walk and read again.

I don’t remember saying this, but early in my recovery, I apparently shared that my goal was to get well so that I could be part of the LEAP trip to Zimbabwe this year.

As I returned home with this goal fulfilled—fully back to normal by God’s power—I was overcome with emotion. How gracious our Lord is that my life was spared! It is for Him and because of Him that I serve with a passion for others.

Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as for the Lord and not for men.

 Melissa Howell is a nurse practitioner based in Dallas who has traveled with LEAP on six surgical mission trips.  

Melissa is pictured here with Mutsa, an eleven-year-old girl who is working her way back to wholeness–something Melissa understands at a deep level following her own recovery from a nearly fatal accident. We are thankful for volunteers like her who not only share their medical skills but also their strong and loving spirits in the face of adversity.