It has been a passion of mine to help the sick and needy, whomever and wherever they may be. I have also long dreamt of providing help to children abroad. As such, when I was asked to travel to Tanzania with Mending Kids, I jumped at the opportunity, though I was unsure of what to expect. I thought, “I am a nurse who will be traveling with a medical team, but I’ll be serving as non-medical personnel… I hope I can still be of help.”
As it turned out, my experience as a team member of Mending Kids was one of a lifetime. I will forever treasure my experiences helping children who desperately needed it. In my mind, I can still see the faces of the little children as we registered them on their first morning, they seemed very scared and wary. Throughout the week, I became familiar and emotionally connected with these children and their parents, especially as I handed them the toys that we had brought, monitored their vital signs, and tenderly bathed them before their surgeries. Towards the end of the week, many of them came to me to play ball in the hospital’s hallway, to talk about “America” or to just give me a high five. I am beyond thankful to Mending Kids for taking me on this mission as a volunteer and I would do it again if I had a chance.
Orquidea Yanira Pollack, MSN
As we ring in the new year, Mending Kids is pleased to welcome the following individuals to our board:
(Pictured from Left to Right)
Our New Year’s resolution is to save the life of our 5,000th child in 2019!
Join us at our annual Wings "Imagine" Gala on Thursday, February 21, 2019, at 6pm. Your presence and support will help us reach our goal. For tickets click here
Thanks to the generosity of you, our donors and volunteers, Mending Kids, to date, has provided critical surgical care to more than 4,000 children worldwide.
We are sincerely grateful for one-time donations large and small! The easiest and most efficient way to help us provide stable and continued support is to continue being a part of our Club Kaleidoscope or consider a modest increase in your monthly gift. Your monthly contributions fund our critical work to mend children’s lives all over the world. Stop by our office and see your Butterfly on our Legacy wall. We are forever grateful for your support.
Mending Kids deployed to Guatemala City and provided 85 children with general ears, nose and throat procedures. Mending Kids Lead Surgeon Dr. Namrata Varma, led the 21 person team consisting of 11 medical volunteers; surgeons, surgical technicians, anesthesiologists and nurses along with10 High School student volunteers from MUSE High-School in Calabasas .
The MUSE student volunteers helped out with paperwork, passed out stuffed animals to patients, helped ease the children's nerves before and after surgery, painted the exterior and bathroom of Prince of Peace Girls Group Home and Orphanage, and helped pack our loaned medical equipment. The students seemed to really immerse themselves into their mission work. Many photos were taken with them hugging and cuddling with the patients and their siblings.
Within the Moore Medical Center, they had the chance to interact with local volunteers their age. These bilingual Guatemalan volunteers served the purpose of translating in the screening clinic, pre-op, and post-op. This was an opportunity for the MUSE students to connect with their peers, and find commonalities between the two cultures.
It seemed obvious that it was a truly life-changing experience for both patients and teens.
(Pictured top left, Selly with sibling of patient, top right Xai with patient Kristen, 7 years)
Our individual surgical care patients came from Belize, Congo, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Peru and
Uganda. In total, we mended 23 children from overseas countries. Here is a look at some of the lives we've touched...
As we end this year, Mending Kids reflects on all that’s been accomplished during 2018. The year was filled with stories of recovery and heartfelt memories. Mending Kids helped save and change the lives of children from all over the world. The surgeries provided varied; colorectal, cardiac, ENT, plastic and burns. Here is a snapshot of some of the lives we’ve touched in 2018:
Mending Kids flew out 14-year old, Anthony from Jamaica to Los Angeles this November to undergo a series of facial reconstruction procedures. Anthony fell off of a pick-up truck when he was only 6 years old. The fall left him with a disfigured face. Complex, facial reconstructive surgeries are not amenable in his home country of Jamaica. And, Anthony’s family was unable to fund such a complicated procedure.
Flash-forward 4 years. Steve Miller was vacationing in Trelawny, Jamaica and noticed a boy sitting at the pier. It just so happens that Anthony’s Dad, Bernard works for a rafting tour company and Anthony was waiting for his Dad’s shift to end. Steve couldn’t help but to notice this boy’s face. He went back to his vacation rental and inquired with the house manager if they knew of the boy. They did, and the manager contacted Bernard about Steve’s inquiry. Steve searched for nearly 4 years for someone to take on Anthony’s case. No one would. Until Steve reached out to Mending Kids about 3 months ago.
Mending Kids sponsored his flight and made all of the arrangements for him to be seen at both Shriners and Children’s Hospital L.A. While Anthony was here, Steve launched a Facebook Giving Tuesday campaign, which fundraised nearly $5000 to sponsor Anthony’s housing and food. In between appointments, Steve made sure Anthony and Bernard were able to take in some Los Angeles sightseeing and enjoyed quality time getting to know each other.
Mending Kids arranged for Anthony’s many appointments while here. It was uncovered that before Anthony could have any reconstruction done, he needed to meet with a Neurosurgeon, because via a brain scan, it was obvious his brain was exposed. This speciality is not a service provided by Shriners. Steve learned of a neurosurgeon, Mark Krieger of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles so Mending Kids arranged for and paid for that appointment. Dr. Krieger advised that Anthony could have his three initial nose surgeries and come back for the neurosurgery procedure afterwards.
At this point, Anthony and his Dad had already been here a month and Dad needed to get back to Jamaica so he could go back to work and help support his family. Anthony, his family and Steve remain hopeful that his reconstruction will happen through Mending Kids Individual Surgical Care Program in early 2019.
Mending Kids deploys to Guatemala City to provide 85 children with general ears, nose and throat procedures. Mending Kids Lead Surgeon Dr. Namrata Varma, led the 21 person team consisting of 11 medical volunteers;surgeons, surgical technicians, anesthesiologists and nurses along with of 10 High School student volunteers from MUSE High-School in Calabasas .
The student volunteers helped out with paperwork, passed out stuffed animals to patients, helped ease the children's nerves before and after surgery, painted the exterior and bathroom of Prince of Peace Girls Group Home and Orphanage, and helped pack our loaned medical equipment.
The students also had a chance to interact with local volunteers who were their age. These bilingual Guatemalan volunteers served the purpose of translating in the screening clinic, pre-op, and post-op. This was an opportunity for the Muse student volunteers to connect with their peers, and find commonalities between the two cultures.
“We have seen patients who have never gotten a good night’s sleep wake up happy as they have never done before. We are here to change Guatemala but Mending Kids is here to change our world,” says Dr. Ligia Figueroa, Medical Director Moore Pediatric Surgical Center. Mending Kids’ hope is to make great strides at self-sustainment in the area of pediatric ENT surgery while making many more of these surgeries available to these young patient and empowering surgeons to provide these procedures confidently.
For more information about our Overseas Medical Missions click here
Florence Dorsky, Jeff Drasnin, Marc Edelman, David Elichman, Joel Engelstein, Tina Erwin, Amy Eskoff-Garrett, Sarah Evans,
Rami Even-esh, Eversole Trust, Diana Fehey, Aimee Feifer, David Fishberg, Todd Forte, Kerry Frain, Jef Friedman, Brian Frischer, Solange Frischer, Caren Galit, Marni Garfinkle, Aaron Garrison, Marc Gasway, Natali Gebran-Miller, Carol Gendler, Sepha Ginsburg-Silverman, Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Carrie Goldin, Jeremy Goldstein, Mitch Goodman, Courtney Gordon, Hilda Gourdikian, James and Susan Gray, Mo Griss, Elijay Hacohein, Kathy Hakim, Michelle Hamada, Heather Harp, Troy Haynes, Maureen Hecker, Adria Hersh, Lenny Hirsch, Jennifer Hirschberg, Angie Hobbs, Conor Hogan, Alyssa Hope, Ann Hudson, Tracy HuethDanika Iagorio, Yuval Ilani, Rustam Isakov, Seth Itzkowitz, Zoe Jackson, JEUNESSE KIDS FOUNDATION, INC., Lynne Joseph, Rachel Kamrasch, Carol Kaplan, Christine Katzman, Stephanie Kaufman, KCBC Foundation AKA Khalili Foundation AKA KB Surgical Center, Kenneth Keiter, Stefani Kelly, Danny Kern, Michelle Kert, Jessie Kimmell, Melissa Kingma, Karen Klugo, Wendy Knecht, Arthur Kokozian, Meera Kotagal, Nooneh Kradjian, Ece Krane, Ian Kusinitz, Jessica Langsbard, Carla Leader, April Lebowitz, Samantha Lee, Barbra Lesh, Stephani Letzring, Jacqueline Lewis, Kate Lieberman, Iris Lim-Beutel, Aaron Lipskar, Laura & Dan Lorimer, Karina Lynch, Seda Macher, Ranum Magellan & David Van Iwaarden, Angela Maly, Mara Mandel, Carrie Maras, Heidi Marcus, Rob Mariles, Annissa Mason, Diane McCabe, Colleen McGuine, Brian Miller, David Miller, Jeffrey Miller, Robin Miller, Susan Miller, Missy Modell, Kim Moskowitz, Alison Moss, Chelsea Mullins, Dawn Mullins, Nikki Nachum, Hartley Naki, Eleanor Nett, Tom Newberry, Robin Nugent, Kristen Oyler, Ian Paquette, Lori Parker, Maral Partamian, Lindsay Pashayan-Fries, Jody Peckett, Jonathan Penn, Evan Peterson, Todd Ponsky, Brian Potash, Shannon Price, Carlin Ram, Jon Rapport, Joan Rater, Scheila Reich, Meri Rerisi, Gil Reyes, Romeo Rodriguez, Alex Rose, Jamie Rosen, Michelle Rosenbaum-Ellis, Peter Rosenberg, Laurie Rosendahl, Steven Rothenberg, Vickie Rowe, Nate Ruben, Dana Ruggieri-Lamacchia, Lindsay Rutter, Greg Ryan, Sarine Sahatjian, Nick Santaniello, Michelle Scarola, Amy Schneider, Barry Schneider, Seth Schochet, Emily Schonbraun, Linda Schrager-Cohen, Jaimee Schreiber-Loewy, Bob Schwartz, Robyn Schwartz-Millman, Dori Schwartz-Prussian, Daniel Scroggins, Jacob Seldes, Farrah Selvers, Andrea Shapiro, Jay Shapiro, Paige Silver, Galite Silverman, Rachel Silverman, Justin Singer, Michelle Singer, Barry Sloane, Albert So, Adrian Soghoian, Heather Speizman, Steven Squillante, Warren Sroka, Marian Sternberger-Freundlich, Meagan Stockemer, Amy Stollmack, Tara Strong, Ashton Stronks, David Suchowiecky, Jannis Swerman, Geoffrey Szot, Erin Thompson, Esther Tseng, Bradley Tuck, Heather Tungate-Bingham, Sabrina Valadez-Donyes, Eva Van Brunt, Victoria Vickson, David Wagner, Kiko Wanger, Max Wanger, Burn Washburn, Lauren Wassler, Kaare Weber, Steven Weigle, Scott Weingust, Kelly Weinstein, Janis Welsh, Joyce Wengler-Kelton, Nicola White, Kelly Williams, Tara Wolfe, Jay Zatzkin, Gabrielle Zhuang, Julie Zunder