Category Archives: LEAP Stories

Dr. Candace Granberg Carries a Hammer for Haiti

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

17835017_906370412837859_3838507300863010161_o

Dr. Granberg started a Facebook campaign called #hammerforhaiti to raise money for LEAP with the goal of $2500 before traveling to Haiti on April 20. The plan was that if she reached that goal, she would carry the heavier hammer in the fall Hammer Race on October 7. Well, she surpassed the goal and will carry that heavy hammer!

Dr. Granberg says she’s “happy to suffer/sweat/bleed/run for such a great cause” and “will try to make the Hammer Race [her] fundraiser every year.”

 We caught up with Dr. Granberg soon after the Haiti mission to learn more about her involvement with LEAP:

Why did you choose to volunteer with LEAP?

Dr. Clanton Harrison, one of my mentors during my pediatric urology training in Dallas, invited me to come with him to Haiti when I was a fellow. I was honored to be part of that team in April 2012, and it was such a great experience. Dr. Harrison taught me so much during that mission, and I prayed that I would get asked to go again. The LEAP organization is simply amazing – they put together an outstanding, dedicated team, gather necessary supplies, and run an efficient surgical mission trip.

How is it different from your everyday practice?

I listened to a talk by a pediatric urologist about international volunteerism where the speaker said, “Volunteering is an antidote to burnout.” I truly believe that I am a better surgeon because of my trips to Haiti – technically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. My experiences with LEAP have put everything in my medical practice – and my life – in perspective.

Was there a particular patient experience that especially moved you?

Not a particular experience but a particular trip – my first trip in 2012 was so moving. I had no idea what the state of medical care was in Haiti. I had no idea how much poverty existed. Parents were stoic pre-operatively and tearful/thankful after surgery. Patients that Dr. Hobar had operated on previously came back to thank him. The teamwork was phenomenal. I couldn’t wait to go back.

18402071_10155066127847254_7967324067632329150_oWhat is it like working with the team? 

I am always in awe of how a group of people, many of whom have never previously worked together, meet up in a hospital with limited resources and just go straight to work – and within minutes, we are gliding forward as a well-oiled machine. Everyone is visibly happy, working their tails off, and nobody ever complains – this makes for such a positive atmosphere! Hours go by, but they feel like minutes. This is truly amazing.

What parts of the experience will stick with you the most? 

How grateful the parents are after we have cared for their children. They not only thank us for our work, but many also tell us they will pray for us. This always affirms that our (LEAP’s) mission is not only providing medical and surgical care but to teach and share that we are doing this work through our faith.

What drives you to share your gifts in this way?

Knowing that God has blessed each of us with different gifts. Every single person on our team is necessary for us to do the work that we do, and I feel lucky to be able to share my knowledge and skills with the children of Haiti. I also love that we are able to teach the local nurses and surgeons (Dr. Dreux and his residents!) so that even more kids and families can be helped after we leave.

Photos: Hammer Race and Scott Porter

Landmark Program: Long & Xuan

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

16864453_10154833341597254_6025252422809752584_nLast month, Long (9 years old) and Xuan (8 months old) came to us from China to receive free surgeries provided by LEAP through our Landmark Program.

Both children were abandoned by their parents at birth, likely due to their craniofacial deformities. These surgeries will not only heal them physically but will allow for a greater opportunity to be adopted. That’s part of the beauty of our work, and we are grateful to be able to help them have a better chance at finding forever families.

It was such a joy to welcome them at DFW Airport after their long journey. We had a large, happy group of LEAP staffers, host families, and previous Landmark patients there to greet them.

Xuan

IMG_8940Xuan is a cuddly and sweet little one who came to us after having had a prior cleft surgery that had complications. Upon arrival, he had a few appliances put in to help him with alignment issues prior to surgery. He will have two phases of surgery to repair his cleft lip.

Two families generously opened their hearts and homes to Xuan during his stay. Dr. Michael Cotter is a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital. He along with his wife, Katie, and their five children were thrilled to welcome him as part of their big family. This is their first time hosting with LEAP.

During Xuan’s recovery phase, Jane Lamon, who hosted Li Ying last year, is once again serving as Host Mom. She’s raised four kids of her own, is a former nurse, and has a loving spirit.

Long

IMG_8961Long is a loving, smart, and inquisitive boy who has severe craniofacial deformities. His surgery was quite complex in nature and took over 8 hours to complete. In his pre-op appointment, Long learned everything about his surgery so he knew what to expect. Dr. Hobar led the surgery and was accompanied by three other pediatric surgeons: Dr. Fred Sklar, Dr. Doug Sinn, and Dr. Evan Beale.

While he awaited surgery, he stayed a couple hours north in Oklahoma at the ranch home of Janet and Pat Ortega—longtime LEAP supporters who champion our mission in a number of ways. At the ranch, Long got to enjoy nature and animals and taught Janet’s parents—who he called “Grandma and Grandpa”—how to play chess.

Post-surgery, Long is staying with Melissa Howell, one of our wonderful LEAP volunteers who has traveled with us on several mission trips. She and her husband, Dan, have 7 children, and they all have been looking forward to showering Long with lots of love and affection!

LEAP Surgeons Perform Critical Surgeries on Syrian Children

By | Blog, Disaster Relief, ISAPS, LEAP Stories, News, Volunteers | No Comments

WaelAfter traveling from around the world to a hospital located in Tripoli, Lebanon, the team started conducting clinical evaluations of 90 prospective patients on January 8, 2017. The vast majority were children who sustained injuries as a direct result of the war, such as bombs or fuel exploding, or as a result of living in makeshift camps because they were displaced by war. Read More

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.

Read More

Dominican Republic: Franchesca

By | Blog, Dominican Republic, LEAP Stories, Mission Program | No Comments

pch-franchescafranchescaOur relationship with Franchesca began in 1998 when LEAP Founder and Medical Director Dr. Craig Hobar performed a bilateral cleft lip repair for her as a baby while on a surgical mission to the Dominican Republic.

By monitoring her progress and providing age-appropriate surgeries over the past 18 years, we are able to give her the best possible care as she grows and develops into a confident young woman.

pch-franchesca-2016On our recent September mission to the D.R., Dr. Hobar performed a cleft nasal revision and palate repair, which included a bone graft from her hip. This surgery gave Franchesca a more natural looking lip and nose and will allow for future dental implants.

We so cherish the opportunity to watch Franchesca grow up as part of our LEAP family and help her reach special milestones through continued surgical care.

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!