Category Archives: LEAP Stories

Scott Porter Captures the Heart of LEAP

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

scottporter profileScott Porter is a local photographer who has traveled with us this year on mission to Haiti and Belize. He’s a bit quiet and unassuming, but that’s because he’s focused on capturing the moment rather than being in it. Scott’s got an inimitable talent for capturing an entire story within a single frame. It’s always hard to explain what it’s like to be on mission, but his work represents the layers of emotion, the purity of spirit, and the sweat equity involved in the work.

We love his heart for mission, and we wanted you to get to know him a little better. He’s a pretty special human being who we’re grateful to know.

Tell a little about yourself.
Grew up in the DFW area. Went to UNT for advertising and worked as a copywriter at various ad agencies for over eight years. A few years ago, I was applying for a job as a writer at a nonprofit, and during the course of the interview, they asked what my dream job would be. The answer was to travel and take photos. And hearing myself say that out loud for the first time, I figured that if that really was my dream job, I should probably pursue it. It took a couple years of learning and growing as a photographer, but I’m finally getting to do what I love. I became a full-time freelancer in August of 2016. I still write, but I’ve been able to go on several international trips as a photographer: Guatemala twice, Haiti, and Belize.

What is it about mission work that inspires you? 
Even when I was working in advertising, I always preferred our nonprofit clients. The work I did for them felt more meaningful and more gratifying. That’s still true today. I’m not a doctor, diplomat, businessman, or educator; I have a camera and a desire and ability to go. I love what I do, and I hope the pictures I take end up making some kind of difference. Plus, it’s just really fun to be around people who are experts at what they do and are nice enough to do it to help others.IMG_2395

What was it like being part of the Haiti & Belize missions?
I really enjoyed it. I saw surgeries for the first time and was happy to find out that I’m not squeamish. I especially enjoyed meeting everyone who went on the trips and made some good friends. At the same time, I felt keenly aware that I had the least important job, but I think that was a healthy realization. I was there to play my part. And when I got tired or my feet hurt, I just realized that the same was true of everyone there, so there was really nothing to complain about – even to myself.

What have you learned about LEAP in this process? What have you learned about yourself? 
It was interesting to see the instant gratification of what LEAP does: a kid comes in with a problem, the next day he has surgery, and the problem is fixed. But that said, three days later and these surgeons have gone back to America. Some kids have to wait another year to be treated, and some kids have problems that can’t be helped through surgery at all. It can feel overwhelming because you can never help everyone. But on the other hand, you can look at a mom holding her child and know that that one surgery meant everything to them.

If you could spend time in any part of the world doing this, where would you go?
I’ve only just begun traveling, and there’s nowhere on Earth I don’t ultimately want to visit (I’ve applied for jobs in Antarctica the last two years in a row but no luck so far.). But the place I want most to work in is the Middle East. I have a heart for refugees in general but specifically Syrian refugees, and I’d love to see with my own eyes what they’re going through.

Dr. Candace Granberg Carries a Hammer for Haiti

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

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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:

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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
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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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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!