Category Archives: Mission Program

Mexico: Dr. Alejandra Garcia

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

21200708_486360641718898_5888570809863226556_oDr. Alejandra Garcia, a pediatric plastic surgeon and longtime LEAP medical volunteer, helped lead a small team to Zihuatanejo, Mexico to address the need for ear reconstructions in pediatric patients. This location is outside LEAP’s usual mission locations, but we felt called to lend a hand. Below, Dr. Garcia describes the experience from her point of view.

What drew you to the need for pediatric ear reconstructions in Zihuatanejo? 
We have family in the area. They connected with a local ENT who takes care of all kinds of patients, adults, and children. He shared the tremendous need for specialists and access to care. He specifically sees a lot of children with ear malformations. He knows what an impact it has on their social development and was frustrated that he had no way to get them treatment.

When you arrived, what were some of your first impressions with regard to how the team would be able to make a difference? 
We were greeted at the airport by a full local team very enthusiastic to get this mission going. This was the first reassurance that we were meant to be here. Once we arrived at the hospital, we saw a full waiting room of patients and all the hospital staff welcoming our team. The local ENT said, “this is only the beginning, there are so many more!”

Describe the dynamics of the team that went on the trip. What were your greatest strengths? 
This was a core team, experienced LEAPers who spent weeks preparing and came with an incredible attitude to represent our organization, our mission, and step up to the challenges of a first time in a new location. Some were old friends to me, and some were new faces, yet all had that enthusiasm and dedication that I am familiar with in all LEAP volunteers.

Was there a particular patient story that moved you or a memory you will always hold dear? 
The last case we were able to do was that of a 9-year-old boy with an ear that was “curled”. While this did not require a full reconstruction, it was a challenge to get his ear to open up. His mother was tearful from the moment we said we would do the surgery, knowing this would make a huge difference in her son’s life. My favorite moment was when we took off the dressings a few days later and showed the boy his ear. He opened his eyes wide and gave the sweetest smile.

Why do you serve with LEAP? What motivates you to offer your skills to those in need? 
Everything is a gift from God. If you believe that then you know your skills are His. Every LEAP mission has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. The camaraderie is difficult to describe. To me this means that’s what we are supposed to be doing with whatever skills we have to offer.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 
There were so many more patients than we were able to treat, I am eager to return!

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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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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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.

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.

Spread the Love

By | Blog, India, Mission Program | No Comments

sat-12-10-love3Children are drawn to LEAP Founder Dr. Craig Hobar in really amazing ways. They seem to be both calmed yet in awe in his presence. Perhaps it’s the deep love he has for all people–especially children needing some form of healing. He’ll tell you he’s inspired by the perfect love of Christ–a lovely reminder for this Christmas season.

 

 

 

Haiti: Construction Team Highlights (1/5)

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

img_7351We wanted to share a special series this week about the extraordinary accomplishment of our volunteer construction team, led by long-time supporters Janet and Pat Ortega. After several months of planning, they very quietly traveled to Haiti on September 11 to build an Emergency Room with an Operating Room and Recovery Room, along with a new Outpatient Clinic, in only 14 days at our host hospital, Hopital Espoir. This was all completed to honor Robin and Dr. Craig Hobar for their 25 years of humanitarian service, an honorary award and gift given to them by Ellen and Clayton Kershaw.  
 
img_7350Our seasoned construction team that traveled with the Ortegas included Jim Andrews, Harry Steed, and Dustin Warren. 
 
In order for the project to start smoothly, the hospital staff had to clear out a significant area of the hospital located under the Pediatric Ward, which was built largely by the same team in 2014. This was a major undertaking by the hospital with pre-planning by Janet and Pat, but all was ready whenever our team arrived.  

Haiti Team Nurses

By | Blog, Haiti, Mission Program, News, Upcoming Trips, Volunteers | No Comments
Circulator Co-Lead Charlie Lin, RN

Circulator Co-Lead Charlie Lin, RN

LEAP’s mission trip to Haiti is next week! Our nurse leadership team includes: Circulator Co-Leads John Faulkner, RN and Charlie Lin, RN and Recovery Lead Lori Allen, RN. They will work together to provide exceptional leadership and nursing care for our patients.

We are particularly thankful to our nurse leads who prepare and pack medical supplies to travel with our team. This allows us to be best prepared in the mission field and is a critical element to the overall team.

Over the last five years, LEAP has traveled biannually to Port-au-Prince to provide hope, help and healing to the beautiful children of Haiti. We are blessed by our wonderful local partners who work tirelessly to help facilitate our mission of service.

Haiti Surgical Team

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

img_6818LEAP’s mission trip to Haiti is just around the corner! In the plastic surgery operating room will be LEAP Founder and Medical Director Dr. Craig Hobar, Dr. Steve Orten, and ENT Dr. John McClay. In the second operating room, pediatric urologist and LEAP Board Member Dr. Clanton Harrison and pediatric urology fellow Dr. Adam Kern, who is new to LEAP, will work together to provide exceptional surgical care.

We are thankful to these humanitarian surgeons and to our other medical volunteers who give their time and talents to selflessly serve these children in need. Over the last five years, LEAP has traveled biannually to Port-au-Prince to provide hope, help and healing to the beautiful children of Haiti. We are blessed by our wonderful local partners who work tirelessly to help facilitate our mission of service.