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Mending Kids is always thrilled to receive donations of any amount and .91 of each donation dollar goes to fund surgeries directly. In addition, donations of diapers to coloring books, from office supplies to bubbles are a huge help on our surgical missions. We also welcome service-related donations, from free storage or shipping, to printing services. Please contact us if you would like to donate any of these items or services.



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Your donation of any amount when combined with others can help provide life-changing surgical care to kids who would otherwise not receive it. Our work reaches around the world and here in the United States.

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Support the Malibu Guild

Based in Malibu, CA, the Malibu Guild works to support the children of Mending Kids around the globe through its ongoing fundraising efforts and events. The majority of the funds raised by the Guild directly supports the Hometown Mission program, which gives American children free surgeries that insurance companies and government programs have denied.

In 2013, Ally Mastrippolito and Sienna Dugan founded the Mending Kids Club at Malibu High School. In their short history, this active group of students has raised thousands of dollars for children who traveled here from another country and are temporarily hosted families in Malibu.

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Support the Ethiopia Group

Mending Kids and the nonprofit, The Ethiopian Family Fund, have a unique and special relationship. The Ethiopian Family Fund was founded by Marla Hodes almost a decade ago to help her brother in-law, Dr. Rick Hodes, who has spent the last 30 years in Ethiopia helping children receive life-saving surgeries.

EFF and Mending Kids come together to create fundraisers specifically for Ethiopian children with life-threatening heart and spinal conditions. EFF also travels to Addis Ababa annually with a team of volunteers on a Mending Kids surgical mission. Please visit ethiopianfamilyfund.org to see all the wonderful work that's being done in Ethiopia! For more information on our group, please email .

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Support SMHS 4 MKI

A few years ago San Marino High School registrar, Kathie Blanton, attended a Rotary meeting in San Marino where she heard Marchelle Sellers speak about Mending Kids. She had several students with her that day and upon returning back to school they knew they were hooked on what Mending Kids was doing and wanted to help. So began the very first high school club to support Mending Kids!

The club engages in all sorts of activities from packing surgical bags for missions, to making get well cards, to hosting fundraisers to support surgeries, to providing valuable volunteer support.

At the Mending Kids Wings around the World Gala in 2014, the San Marino High School Club received the prestigious Teen Leadership Award for their outstanding support!

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Support a Mission

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Mission: Costa Rica February 15, 2015


Where in the World Costa Rica, located on the Central American isthmus, borders Nicaragua, Panama, the Pacific Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea. Widely recognized for its varied wildlife, Costa Rica has beautiful landscapes filled with forests, mountains, volcanoes, beaches, and rivers. The population of Costa Rica is about 4,300,000 people, a quarter of whom live in the metropolitan area of the capital, San José. Despite the fact that Costa Rica has one of the highest standards of living in the Americas, profound poverty still affects many people at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Costa Rica’s poverty rate of 20-25 percent has remained the same for nearly 20 years. Poverty in Costa Rica is especially observable in rural areas and in certain parts of San José. Healthcare in Costa Rica The National Health System covers all medical needs of the Costa Rican population. The quality of healthcare in Costa Rica is considered to be one of the highest in Latin America. However, given the long waiting times for appointments (it can take months to see a doctor or undergo surgery), many residents choose a private hospital where appointments are more easily available. Private hospitals incur higher hosts for the patients and families than public health services. Currently, there are about 30 public hospitals and 5 private hospitals in Costa Rica. The majority of private hospitals are located in San José. The Children Following recent improvements to medical care, Costa Rica now has the longest life expectancy in Latin America. The Code for Children and Adolescents stipulates, “all minors will benefit from medical care directly and freely from the State.” Despite a very effective health system, problems such as infant mortality and death linked to contamination by the HIV/AIDS virus persist. In fact, 10% of children die before reaching the age of 5. The main problem faced by children in Costa Rica is poverty. One in four children live below the poverty line. In addition, child labor continues to be a challenge in Costa Rica, with 21% of child laborers not attending school. According to the United Nations Children Fund, 36,000 children in Costa Rica are orphans. Due to dysfunctional or non-existent family structures, many of them are at risk of ending up on one of the crime-ridden streets, where child prostitution, drug abuse and gang violence quickly become part of their everyday lives. The Mission The Mending Kids Surgical Mission to Costa Rica is a two-part mission with the goal of providing life-saving surgeries for 12 kids, while training local surgeon Dr. Rafael Gutierrez and his colleagues from the Hospital Nacional de Niños in San Jose in more complex interventional cardiology procedures. The first part of this mission will be led by Dr. Timothy W. Casarez, pediatric interventional cardiologist from CHLA, and will take place from February 15-20, 2015. The second part of this mission will be led by Dr. David A. Ferry, pediatric interventional cardiologist from CHLA, and will take place in the Fall of 2015. In Costa Rica, there are about 7 children per week diagnosed with congenital heart disease who need stent placements. While healthcare is free to children in Costa Rica, such an advanced technique is still relatively new. Stents provide an opening to increase blood flow and circulation throughout the body. A teenager may need one or two stents placed to help ease breathing and circulation. Currently, local surgeons require advanced training for such complicated cases, and the waiting list of children is too long for the limited number of specialized local surgeons to manage. This Mending Kids mission will provide the necessary training in order to create a sustainable program for the cardiac needs of children in Costa Rica and all over Central America. Goals The long term goal for this mission to Costa Rica will be to use the Hospital Nacional de Niños in San Jose as a center of excellence for care of the region’s pediatric cardiac cases. Children from all over Central America and the Caribbean who suffer from congenital heart malformations will be referred to the HNN to successfully get their hearts mended. Currently, Mending Kids must refer such patients to India or Israel, so having a nearer hospital to refer them to will reduce the anxiety and culture shock children feel when going through their healing process. Having a certified hospital in the region will also help Mending Kids continue to provide ongoing and sustainable training of regional surgeons. Read more


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Mission: Haiti April 18, 2015


Where in the World The Republic of Haiti occupies the western third of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, bordered to the east by the Dominican Republic. Its biggest city and capital, Port Au Prince, has a population of approximately 3,664,620 people. The rest of the population, which creates a total population of approximately 9,923,243 people, lives in towns largely dominated by agriculture. The tropical climate in Haiti has created a country teeming with natural beauty. Yet, despite its appealing landscape, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, lacking in infrastructure, social services, and health services. 59% of Haitians live on less than $2 a day. Since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the country in 2010, Haitian and international NGOs have taken impressive interest in addressing the country’s needs. Still, if you travel through the county, you will notice the crowded, trash-filled streets, dirty water, half-built concrete homes, and families wanting for basic needs. Healthcare in Haiti One of the biggest problems with public health in Haiti is the country’s lack of infrastructure, which was worsened by the 2010 earthquake. Currently, surgical care is delivered in three ways. Private hospitals serve those living in metropolitan areas, and provide care for a fee. However, the fees and location limit the number of people who can access this care. Public hospitals charge a smaller fee, but require patients to purchase medical supplies themselves, which also limits the number of people these hospitals can serve. Charitable organizations comprise the third method of surgical care available, though many of these organizations also charge fees for their services. Although these options for surgical care exist, it is still difficult for the poorest Haitian families to access adequate, affordable health services because they live in rural towns far from these medical services. The Children Most of the children we treat come from Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas. Some are orphans and some were displaced by the earthquake and live in camps with their family. Most all are impoverished and would most likely not get help, were it not for Mending Kids and other similar mission efforts. Throughout Haiti, poor infrastructure—which worsened with the devastating earthquake—makes it difficult for Haitian children to receive adequate medical care. Moreover, the destruction caused by the earthquake led to the world’s largest cholera outbreak, which still affects Haitian children today. According to UNICEF, malnutrition continues to be a major problem affecting Haitian children. These problems, along with the myriad of other issues that contribute to the weak public health system in Haiti, have led to a high rate of child mortality and low life expectancy in Haiti. The Mission The annual Mending Kids Surgical Mission to Haiti is an ongoing commitment to provide life-changing and life-saving help to the children of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Although five years have passed since the earthquake, close to half a million of displaced people are still living in shantytowns like Cite Soleil, without access to clean water or sanitation. With the leadership of Dr. Cathy Shin, a pediatric surgeon from CHLA, this annual Mending Kids mission provides life-saving surgeries for over 60 kids in just one week! The all-female volunteer surgical team provides training of the OR staff and local surgeon, Dr. Jeudi, at the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital in Tabarre, Haiti. Mending Kids provides mentorship while establishing post-operative protocols for the nursing care on the pediatric wards. This year’s mission will continue efforts in training and in providing direct surgical care for the many Haitian children in need of surgeries. Goals Short term: The short term goals of Mending Kids in Haiti are to 1) assess and improve the treatment and surgical care of children in Haiti, 2) promote communication between pediatric anesthesia and pediatric intensive care, 3) improve training of supervisory nursing care on the pediatric ward, and 4) provide a patient-centered environment that reduces pain and suffering, as well as improves healing and the psychological well-being of the children. Long term: The long term goal of Mending Kids in Haiti is to create self-sustained pediatric surgical care at the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital. This will be accomplished by continuing training efforts until the local medical staff has gained the confidence and skills to perform both common and complex surgical procedures, without requiring the support of international missions. Read more


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Mission: Ethiopia June 12, 2015


Where in the World Bordered by Eritrea to the north, Somalia and Djibouti to the east and Sudan and South Sudan to the west, Ethiopia is believed to be the birthplace of man and where, Lucy, the oldest human fossil, was found. More importantly, Ethiopia is a country of nearly 85 million without any comprehensive heart care program. This is a land where 1 in 100 children suffer from some form of congenital heart defect. In Ethiopia, there are physicians capable of diagnosing basic heart problems in children, but unlike any major city in the U.S. and Europe, there is absolutely no congenital heart program. There are only 19 anesthesiologists in the entire country. The vast majority of children with heart problems in Ethiopia have no hope to live anything close to a normal life, and are destined to live a shortened life punctuated by repetitive illnesses. Healthcare in Ethiopia Although urban areas of Ethiopia have hospitals with full-time staff and physicians, 4/5 of Ethiopians live in rural areas and lack access to healthcare facilities. There is less than 1 physician for every 10,000 people. Besides a shortage of infrastructure and personnel, the population suffers from a wide range of health problems, largely due to preventable and communicable diseases, as well as nutritional disorders. The infant mortality rate is very high, standing at 77 per 1,000 live births. The Children Researchers are still trying to determine why so many children suffer from congenital heart disease around the world and in Ethiopia. These children require surgery, whether it is an open-heart surgery or an interventional catheterization at some point in their early life, to correct the defect and allow them to live a normal life. The children we hope to mend will be arriving from all over Ethiopia and come from very poor families with little education and no other options. The Mission The Mending Kids Cardiac/Cath Surgical Mission to Ethiopia will take place from June 12-21, 2015 in collaboration with the surgical team from Star Hospital in Hyderabad, India. This mission to Ethiopia will be led by U.S. pediatric interventional cardiology surgeons Dr. Timothy W. Casarez and Dr. David A. Ferry of CHLA, and by Indian pediatric cardiac surgeon Dr. Gopichand Mannam. Mending Kids has invited Dr. Yayehyriad (Yayu) Mekonnen, a pediatric cardiac surgeon in his third year of fellowship with Save a Child’s Heart in Israel, to observe and learn advanced skills from Dr. Mannam on this mission. Dr. Mekonnen is originally from Ethiopia, and plans to return to Ethiopia after his fellowship in order to aid in the cardiac care of Ethiopian children. Dr. Yilkal Chanie, the new director of the cardiac center, will also receive advanced training on pediatric interventional cardiology by Dr. Ferry and Dr. Casarez during the mission. The goal is to provide life-saving open-heart surgeries and/or catheterization procedures for 30-40 kids, including training for local medical surgeons and staff. Goals The first two missions were strictly about open-heart surgeries. Last year, we added an interventional cardiology component to the mission to provide mentorship in the Catheterization Lab. Our goal is to continue the training in pediatric interventional cardiology, open-heart surgery and anesthesiology, so that the local medical staff may gain the confidence to do these procedures without needing international missions to assist them. Our X-Ray technician, Lexi Lynn Lee, will support all facets of mentoring in the Catheterization Lab, which is an exciting development.Read more


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Mission: Tanzania June 20, 2015


Where in the World Tanzania is located in the eastern region of Africa. It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Republic of Congo to the west; and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the South. The population of Tanzania is about 47.4 million and 45% of the population are children between the ages of 0-14. The population distribution of Tanzania is extremely uneven with most people living on the northern border or eastern coast. Many Tanzanians live on an equivalent of less than a dollar a day. The Mwanza Region is located in northern Tanzania with a population of 2,800,000, the second largest city in Tanzania. The Mwanza Region is occupied by various tribal groups. The region currently has 6 hospitals, led by the Bugando Medical Center. Healthcare in Tanzania Healthcare in Tanzania is not accessible to the entire population. It is only available to those who have income. Health insurance has only been recently introduced, but it is very limited and does not attend to the needs of the majority of Tanzanians, particularly those outside of urban areas. For a population of almost 50 million people, there are only approximately 800 qualified doctors in entire the country. This patient to doctor ratio is among the worst in all of Africa. The Children According to UNICEF, the under-five mortality rate in Tanzania is strikingly high at 81 deaths per 1,000 live births. The infant mortality rate is 51 per 1,000 live births. Tanzania is making considerable progress in the reduction of child mortality due to the government’s commitment to increase use of key health interventions. These include sustained high coverage of under-five immunizations, Vitamin A supplementation, insecticide treated bed nets, and better treatment for malaria. Tanzania has a high prevalence of congenital heart diseases. In a research study conducted at the Bugando Medical Center between October 2012 and January 2013, 29% of infants enrolled in the study had high prevalence of congenital anomalies. This Mending Kids mission will provide both open-heart surgeries and training in order to create a sustainable program for the cardiac needs of children in Tanzania. The Mission This inaugural Mending Kids cardiac mission to Tanzania will take place from March 20-30, 2015 in collaboration with the surgical team from Bambino Gesù Ospedale Pediatrico and the Bugando Medical Center. This mission to Tanzania will be led by Italian pediatric cardiac surgeon, Dr. Salvatore (Sasha) Agati. The goal is to provide life-saving open-heart surgeries for up to 15 kids, including training for local cardiac surgeon, Dr. Godwin Sharau, who just completed five years of training in Israel. Dr. Sharau is the first Tanzanian surgeon to focus solely on pediatric cardiac surgery. There are currently nearly 500 children on a waiting list to get surgical care at the center. Goals Short term: Mend a dozen hearts with requiring complex surgeries to help Dr. Sharau gain more skills and confidence. Intermediate term: Collaborate with Open Hearts International and Save A Child's Heart to send more missions year round for the next few years. This will not only empower Dr. Sharau but also encourage the Bugando Medical Center to allocate more funds for pediatric cardiac care. Long term: Establish a successful cardiac program in Tanzania so that children will no longer need to be sent out of the country for cardiac care. Read more


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Mission: Guatemala July 18, 2015


Mission: Guatemala is a shining example of our on-going commitment to provide life-changing and life-saving help to the children of a nation still recovering from a civil war nearly 20 years ago and a country where nearly half of its population is under the age of 18. In 2013, we sent three separate medical teams there to provide specialized surgical care to the most underserved segment of the population. The Children Our young patients come from all over Guatemala, some enduring long walks out of their mountain villages to reach roads in order to get rides into the capital and the Moore Pediatric Center. We don't know why so many have congenital birth defects but suspicions lie in some genetic corn strains that block the absorption of folic acid. Guatemala City The Republic of Guatemala is located in Central America and is one of the poorest countries in all of Latin America. It is bordered by Mexico to the north and El Salvador and Honduras to the south. Guatemala, loosely translated is known as The Land of Many Trees. No stranger to earthquakes and land slides during the rainy seasons; it is situated in a corridor between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean which also makes it prone to tornadoes. Progress Our first few missions have been about building our relationship and mentorship with Dr. Hernandez (who has provided us with valuable pre-operative, intra-operative and post-operative care) and supporting the work of Dr. Graciela Minucci, the only pediatric neuro-surgeon in all of Central America. Goals - Expand the clinical training of on-site providers. - Create partnerships with satellite clinics to enhance pre-op and post-op care. - Expand the scope to include higher complexity surgical cases such as congenital anomalies. - Create a center of pediatric neurosurgery excellence and refer patients there from all over Central and South America. - Continue the training until self-sustainment has been established without the need for assistance from missions such as ours.Read more


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Mission: Peru August 8, 2015


As a result of a meeting through the Rotary Club of South Pasadena, Mending Kids joined forces with Dr. Luis Vasquez of the Chicago Rotary Club, who was overseeing the build of a large hospital in the remote area of Yantalo, Peru. Last year, general surgeon Dr. Dean Anselmo and anesthesiologist, Dr. Brian Kim, lead a team to perform pediatric surgeries for children who had been waiting a long time for surgical help. When the team arrived, they learned that the new hospital was not yet ready for them, so in a pinch, they enthusiastically traveled a few more hours to operate at another hospital. This year, the doctors are returning and are looking forward to getting settled into their new hospital home base in Yantalo and working with local surgeons and nursing staff to educate and train on techniques and after care.Read more


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Mission: Costa Rica September 25, 2015


In partnership with the Colorectal Team Overseas (CTO) led by Dr. Marc Levitt of Nationwide Children's Hospital, Mending Kids will be traveling to Hospital Nacional de Ninos in San Jose, Costa Rica to train local surgeons traveling in from all over Latin America. In addition to a surgical training conference on colorectal surgeries (mostly surgical care to children born without an anus), Dr. Levitt and his team will operate on several children requiring this advanced care and scrubbing in with surgeons who would like to add this type of surgical work to their local practice. The team also includes advanced nursing care for the bowel management and wound care these children need post-operatively to be successful long-term and to maintain independent bathroom habits.Read more


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Mission: China October 18, 2015


Mission: China is all about hope, love and mending children's lives. The mission is also about our ongoing commitment to local sustainability by partnering with local surgeons who are interested in learning both open and minimally invasive procedures to correct anorectal malformations (ARMs). Since 2011, Mending Kids has transformed the lives of 35+ orphans in Luoyang, China, who otherwise would have remained un-adoptable because of their congenital birth defect. Luoyang, China Luoyang was a capital of China for multiple dynasties. It is located in Henan province, with a population around seven million people. The city is situated amid the banks of the yellow river and is considered a UNESCO world heritage site because of the Longmen Grottoes. The city is also famous for its cultivation of peonies. We are not certain why there are such a high number of children born with anorectal malformations. Although China's one-child policy (intended as a population growth control) is softening, to have a child born with an imperforated anus is considered the worst curse on a family, one that carries on for generations. This might explain why these children are abandoned and end up in orphanages. The Children All of the ARM children on our mission are orphans in the care of Maria's Big House of Hope. They all are living with colostomies performed emergently in the first few days of life to relieve the obstructed colon. Unfortunately, all of these ARM children have little to no hope of being adopted without the corrective surgeries we provide. Once a child's ARM is corrected, they are very likely to be matched with a "forever family" and have a chance at a healthy future. Progress From training one surgeon in a private operating room to now performing surgeries out of Luoyang First People's Hospital, we are now giving half a dozen local pediatric surgeons the opportunity to not only participate but lead laparoscopic procedures to correct ARMs. This past year we worked alongside the Luoyang Women's and Children's Hospital in partnership with Dr. Zhai, Dr. Yang and his pediatric surgical colleagues. Through an exchange of knowledge and experience, Mending Kids participated in a Regional Pediatric Teaching Conference, utilizing the latest telemedical and live-surgery support, broadcasting several surgeries to young and mid-career pediatric surgeons throughout the region. The conference drew a large audience, raised awareness, continued building trust and culminated in a new declaration by the Chief of Pediatric Surgery. Dr. Yang announced, "We will no longer council parents of newborns with complex ARMs to take their babies home to die, because we have nothing to offer them. We now know how to repair these conditions and can offer infants not only life-saving procedures, but a good quality of life, thanks to the training your team has provided for us." The Pena stimulator, along with a prototype of the new Kimble stimulator, both developed as a result of past missions, proved their value in making these surgeries more affordable. Of equal importance, post-operative bowel management care, which is critical to the recovery of these young patients, was also taught and emphasized at the conference, with the participation of Janet Kimble, RN, an expert in the field and a veteran of dozens of missions with Mending Kids. Her instruction manual was also translated into Mandarin.Read more