In this post, I’d like to share the story of my recent visit to Samoa. I travel there each year with an amazing team of healthcare professionals. I hope it inspires you, but more importantly I hope it motivates you to join me in my mission to help people in developing nations change their lives for the better.
Repairing Bodies & Rebuilding Lives
Poverty, ignorance, conflict, and other factors conspire together to keep the people of Samoa from getting the help they need. Along with other doctors and support staff from Interplast, I am able to operate on people (mostly children) who are either born with birth defects, are burn victims or were injured during a road traffic accident and require surgery.
I also perform surgery for cleft palates and hand injuries or hand defects.
Children in Samoa are especially impacted by their physical abnormalities. They are judged by their communities as “shameful” and generally find themselves shunned by others and banished from the classroom.It’s one of the reasons that the work that I’ve been able to do with my Interplast colleagues is literally life changing.
After recovering from surgery and no longer seen as bearing defects that are “punishments from God”, Children can now return to school where they were told they weren’t allowed to attend and people can get jobs where previously nobody would employ them.
The benefits of the surgeries extend far beyond the children themselves, by the way. I can’t express how wonderful it is to see how their mothers and fathers are transformed. Restorative procedures relieve parents of a terrible burden, as they can finally stop worrying, “What will happen to my disfigured child?”
21,000 Lives Changed…and More, With Your Help
For 30 years, Interplast has worked in 25 countries and implemented over 600 surgical and allied health medical program activities across the Asia Pacific region. I have worked with them for a number of years to provide free reconstructive surgery for patients who would otherwise not be able to afford access to such services.
Interplast does more than work with patients. It also empowers local medical personnel by building their capacity to act independently. Through the years, Interplast has
- Supported over 70 surgeons and nurses to continue part of their training in Australia.
- Sent over 600 volunteers on medical programs.
- Provided over 37,000 consultations.
- Performed over 21,000 life-changing operations.
Currently in Samoa, there is no medical staff with the training or surgical skill set that my colleagues and I bring to the country. That makes our annual visit extremely critical.
Can You Help?
2014 has just begun, but we are already looking ahead to our next visit schedule for September, dreaming of the good work that we’ll be able to accomplish. Funds are critical to our success.
To learn more about what you can do – as a donor, a volunteer, or even a employee – please visit the Interplast website at https://www.interplast.org.au/ and click the get involved button at the top of the page.
I can tell you from personal experience, you will get far more than you give.