Merciful and Mighty

In 2010, only a few short days after the New Year greeted the beautiful people of Haiti and celebrations had subsided, a catastrophic earthquake ravaged Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives with mass destruction to an extensive geographic area.

Dr. P. Craig Hobar, Director of International Craniofacial Development of Medical City Children’s Hospital and the Founder and Medical Director of the LEAP Foundation (LEAP), a non-profit that has provided free, specialized craniofacial surgery to children in impoverished regions around the world for 23 years, saw the devastation being reported in Haiti and quickly made his way to help provide surgical care to those in need, literally days after the earthquake occurred.

 Dr. Ale Garcia-Mitchell, Dr. Hobar and LEAP organized a disaster relief program where 21 surgical teams from around the U.S. and Canada provided complex surgical reconstructive procedures to earthquake victims over the next six months.

During these months of early recovery, Dr. Anna Tran and Dr. Joy Touchstone, Dallas-based Pediatricians, answered a call to serve in Haiti, traveling with another medical organization that was sending teams to help in the region. While in Haiti, Drs. Tran and Touchstone evaluated a male infant, Orleanswho was only six weeks old, diagnosing him with Pierre Robin sequence, a condition caused by a smaller than normal lower jaw that often results in the tongue falling in the back of the throat, potentially impairing breathing. According to mom, Fabienne, Orleans had already experienced bouts in which he had stopped breathing and she was having great difficulty in feeding him.

While trying to locate a hospital to accept Orleans in the United States, no easy task since many were already inundated with emergency patients transferred from Haiti, Fabienne began to tell Drs. Tran and Touchstone a most remarkable story that Orleans had stopped breathing one day and, a frightened Fabienne quickly made her way to seek help from a local physician.

After she arrived, she was told that Orleans had died; he was carefully wrapped in a blanket, taken to the morgue and left amongst others with a similar fate. Only because of an astute passer by, who heard tiny muffled sounds emerging from the wrapped body of Orleans, did they realize that he had actually survived, fighting again for every breath to live. He was urgently taken to the floor and carefully watched over by Fabienne and other most grateful medical providers.

While Drs. Tran and Touchstone did their initial exam of Orleans, they noticed there were several times in which he would cry and his heart stopped; furthermore, he was unable to eat, and he was frequently choking. Not having the benefit of diagnostically visualizing his anatomy, placement of a feeding tube was not possible. But Orleans was a fighter, and Drs. Tran and Touchstone were very determined guardians.

Requiring round-the-clock care and aggressive resuscitation, Dr. Tran literally sent out a 911 plea to a list of approximately 50 professional colleagues to see if they could help connect a surgeon to transfer and care for Orleans. Not only was Dr. Hobar the only person who responded, but he actually called Dr. Tran in Haiti within an hour to see how he could help. Remarkable.

Not long afterward, Dr. Hobar connected with Medical City Children’s Hospital, who was extremely committed to helping beyond most in the southern region, agreeing to generously provide an airplane and a nurse to transfer Orleans and Fabienne to Dallas. An emergency visa for both were obtained, a small miracle in and of itself; and, in the middle of the night, Dr. Hobar and his wife, Robin, met the team in Dallas at the airport, along with Mariline, a young woman and Haitian earthquake survivor, who had been recovering in the Hobar home for a couple of months after a lengthy stay at a local hospital. Mariline, who spoke to Fabienne in Creole, her native language, comforted a frightened Fabienne, assuring her that her prayers had been answered and that she was now in safe, capable hands.

 Orleans was admitted to Medical City Children’s Hospital Intensive Care Unit where he was extremely well cared for by the medical staff. The first few days were difficult on Fabienne in this very new environment filled with multiple monitors and procedures being performed on her small son, but the nursing staff fully embraced them both. Finding a Creole speaking nurse, the hospital staff was not only able to calm and reassure Fabienne, but they also began to work with her to help with Orleans’ care,

something that did not come easy to Fabienne.

     Now, Orleans is four years old, and he is a most remarkable, healthy boy who loves life and is filled with joy. Each time that LEAP travels to Haiti, Fabienne and Orleans come to visit Dr. Hobar and the team. Fabienne
tells the story of how she was inspired
by the nursing staff at Medical City
Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
and is now in her fourth year of nursing school, hoping to one day soon be able to care for other children, as her own son had been cared for at Medical City Children’s Hospital. And Drs. Tran and Touchstone, they now also travel regularly with LEAP on mission trips each year, helping many children in the mission fields across the globe.

It is quite phenomenal, how so many have come together to help a single tiny infant with a strong will to live, who is now flourishing in every possible way. Other lives were also shaped and changed by this blessed child, Orleans. When we share our love and talents with others, a seed blossoms, grows and expands in ways we could not have ever imagined.

In years to come, we will see the depths of this love within Orleans and how he will do the same for others in his lifetime ahead. Today, LEAP continues to serve Haitian children, traveling to Port-au-Prince bi-annually since the acute earthquake recovery ended. In 2014, LEAP built and funded a state-of-the-art 2,000 square foot Pediatric Ward at our host hospital, Hopital Espoir, allowing for more healing and love to flourish in literally hundreds of Haitian children, over the next many future generations to come. In addition, Medical City Children’s Hospital continues to partner with LEAP in order to bring the most challenging and severe craniofacial cases to Dallas, offering these children a long and healthy life they would not otherwise have.

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A New Path

If you have called the office or been involved with LEAP over the last 18 months, then you know Adella Winder, Communications Coordinator. She is the multi-talented angel in our office who spreads sunshine every day to every person that crosses her path.

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For those of us who have worked with Adella every day in the office, we have been the fortunate benefactors of her many talents, her faithful dedication and her loving heart. While she will be greatly missed by everyone at LEAP, Adella’s new church family, the youth that she will lead, and her new friends in Houston will be infinitely blessed.person that crosses her path. In January, Adella is moving to The Woodlands, just outside of Houston. The Woodlands will be closer to family and friends and she will also begin a new chapter, a call to work with her church family as a leader of their Youth Ministry Program. Adella has been very involved with youth ministry for some time now – she has a perfect and beautiful heart for children.

Thank you, Adella, for all of the extraordinary work that you have done for LEAP, including bringing her awesome sister, Ashley, on board in the office (more on this later!).

We love you!

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Oh Danny Boy

10523847_10152841235002254_2133432211828913225_nTwo minutes in a room with Danny, and you have fallen in love with him. He has an incredible joy and spirit that simply melts your heart. Much has been happening with our sweet boy, Danny, while he has been here, now almost one month.

Danny has had several hours of surgery performed by Dr. Craig Hobar and Dr. Grant Gilliland over two separate hospitalizations at Medical City Children’s Hospital. Danny has done wonderfully and is making great progress, all because of the love shared by his physicians, his blessed host family, Martin and Brittan Rojas, the many healthcare providers at Medical City, and those of you who have made Danny’s stay more comfortable. A great big thank you to Chloe and Catherine, liaisons for the orphanage in China and Canada, who have helped Danny during both of his surgeries.

On Monday, Danny will start school with a primary teacher who speaks Mandarin Chinese. Danny is so smart and inquisitive, school will be exciting and stimulating for him. He is also working with a speech therapist to help him learn how to speak after his cleft palate repair. So many daily, wonderful blessings happening for this young man and those of you are part of Danny’s journey. Go team Danny!

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#GivingTuesday

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Our wonderful host family, Martin and Brittan Rojas with their three beautiful children, who have opened their loving home to sweet Danny. Danny has undergone extensive surgeries already, who is recovering well, with another surgery scheduled the week after Thanksgiving. Thanks for giving so greatly!

For the entire week of Thanksgiving leading up to “Giving Tuesday” on December 2, LEAP will be featuring daily photos of our LEAP family to recognize your many ways of giving through the year and to encourage joyful giving on this wonderful day.

Please share our Selfless Selfies or “Unselfies” with others and make your own! Tag LEAP and tell us why you give your love and faithful support!

Learn more about Giving Tuesday here: http://youtu.be/9QKdgMdpcGY

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The Gift of Love

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The holiday season has nearly arrived along with the much cooler weather. There are so many wonderful things that make this time of year beautifully special. At the LEAP Foundation, we wanted to share some of the many things that we are thankful for as we draw ever near to Thanksgiving:

Our incredible volunteers! We are blessed by our tenured volunteers and the many that are new to LEAP this year. You are all so special to our hearts for helping us to bless others in the world through our mission and international relief programs. Your talents and compassion are what gifts others in the world so greatly.

The many patients and families whom we have had the honor and privilege of helping and sharing love with in the mission fields across the globe. You are the reason we plan and work so hard every day.

Our many partners within the local and global communities. You help us greatly to benefit others and we couldn’t have the outreach that we do without your faithful and continued support.

Our donors and supporters have the most generous hearts! You are the reason that we can bring children to the United States for much needed surgical care, that we can fund an operating room in Zimbabwe and a Pediatric Ward in Haiti. These gifts benefit our future generations to come, along with our continued efforts to reach those in need, which this year included patients in Belize, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jordan, and Zimbabwe.

To our LEAP kids who have helped raise funds so that other children may benefit. You are our sweetest of angels, thank you!

The many youth who have helped us in countless ways, we are thankful for all that you do to help further our mission. Not only do you bless our patients, but you commit yourself to serving others here at home in a variety of ways. You are amazing!

We are blessed to have a wonderful and dedicated Board of Directors and staff, led by Dr. Craig Hobar, who are passionate about LEAP’s mission and service to others. We all enjoy working hard together to continue to find ways to spread love, hope and healing to those in need. We get the benefit of witnessing miracles happen every day!

Thank you to our LEAP family. You have made this year an amazingly beautiful year that simply cannot be captured in words, only in hearts.

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Tis So Sweet

We were so blessed to see sweet Jobnaelle today in Haiti. Last year around this time, Jobnaelle and her lovely mother, Yvonne Marie, traveled to Dallas for her extensive surgery with a several week stay. A year later, she looks healthy, beautiful, and perfect, just like her twin sister, Jobnica. Still a bit shy, but what an angel!

 

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Welcome Danny!

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We are so excited to announce that our newest Landmark child, Danny, who is nine years old, will be here next Saturday, November 8th, arriving all the way from China! He and his chaperone, Chloe, will arrive at DFW airport at 3:00pm. If you are available to welcome Danny and Chloe at the airport, please let us know. We will all meet in the baggage claim area for AA flight number 2321.

Long-term LEAP supporters, Martin and Brittan Rojas, have graciously opened their home to Danny during his several week stay in Dallas. Danny’s surgery is scheduled on the early morning of November 11th at Medical City Hospital. We always love to have volunteers sit in the waiting and hospital rooms throughout Danny’s hospitalization.

Please keep Danny in your thoughts and prayers. Not only will he be undergoing several surgeries, he will be traveling on a plane and to a completely new country for the very first time, where few speak his language and the culture is entirely different. It is a lot for such a young boy!

To be a part of Danny’s story, please contact Adella at (972) 566-6550 or adellawinder@leap-foundation.org. We are also in need of gift cards From Walmart, Tom Thumb and/or Target to help with the additional groceries and other items.

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El Salvador Mission: September 10-15, 2014

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What a productive preliminary trip to El Salvador! Our LEAP team met with the plastic surgeons and orthodontists of Operacion Bendicion to assess what supplies and education are needed to expand and advance their program.

The team from Operacion Bendicion is an amazing group of dedicated doctors that have been working together for 12 years.

Their mission is to demonstrate and expand the love of God, through the implementation of humanitarian cooperation projects for sustainable development in order to improve the lives of communities, families and individuals nationwide.

We look forward to working in El Salvador on mission in the future.

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Online LEAP Auction!

We were so blessed by the generosity of those who attended our Gala. We are awaiting just a few items to be finalized and processed before we can share our final fundraising effort with you, but our preliminary numbers are really wonderful!

We had three items that were overlooked on our mission table. Today, we will highlight them individually for purchase. These items represent the global communities that we serve. If interested, please go to our website www.leap-foundation.org/donate and purchase by clicking on the donate button and designating your purchase in the description field. If you prefer, please call the office at 972-566-6550 and speak with Adella.

 

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Another Reason to Smile

10579986_10152630603022254_981238932274279662_nIf you shop Amazon, please sign up for the Amazon Smile Program supporting the LEAP Foundation:

  • Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.
  • AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.
  • Support LEAP by shopping often at smile.amazon.com!
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