Medical Fundraiser and Raffle Provide Health Care in Ecuador

On October 20th, True North Missions Society hosted their 4th annual medical fundraiser. Jeannie Henke explained that the purpose of the charity event was to “raise funds to support our team of medical surgeons, nurses, technicians, translators and general volunteers and patient provisions for people who do not have access to basic health care in Cuneca, Ecuador.”

In 2007, Dr. Greidanus had been traveling to Ecuador for over ten years to aid the people of Cuneca with their common hip problems. He invited Dr. Jim Powell, Director of True North Mission Society, to Ecuador to join his mission. The people of Cuneca continue to swaddle their infants and young children in a way that leads to the common hip problem, acetabular dysplasia. From the True North Mission Society webpage, it is explained that, “If the problem is identified early, it is possible to make several cuts to the pelvis and reorient the hip socket either preventing or delaying the onset of arthritis.” Dr. Powell’s interest in reconstructive surgery, he explored the idea of starting a “program of pelvic ostectomies to augment the total joint arm of the mission.” Henke added that on top of the health problems the swaddling practice can lead to, “The girls can become outcasts of society.”

The goal of the fundraiser this year was to inform guests new to the mission of the purposes of the organization and to raise funds for their mission trip to Ecuador in 2013. They were fairly successful with over 115 people attending the event, leading to approximately $45,000 being raised, Henke said. To gather such a large crowd is no easy feat, but Henke and group used many methods to bring people into their mission. Local radio stations advertised the event, the website was a constant reminder to current supporters, and word of mouth were highly effective. Member’s personal Facebook pages were used to advertise the night’s events, as well. Henke said that the tireless effort by members to spread the word was the best method of bringing in a new crowd.

Henke shared her favorite moments of the night by saying, “Dr. Powell gave the history of why he began this charity and showed a slideshow from previous missions & the patients. Dr. Stephen Norris, VP of CODA/WinSport Canada, also spoke about team building.” She continued by saying, “The most memorable moment was when one of our volunteers, Jordan Wood with Smith & Nephew medical supplies, choked up when he told the audience how poor the people were, the father’s could not afford much, etc.  Had everyone in tears.”

Planning her fourth event was easier than previous years, Henke said. “I had more access to people & sources, such as our website. However, it is still a lot of work. I would advise anyone thinking of doing a fundraiser to have many people with many talents in place to help. Henke added that their photographer of the night has posted pictures of their wonderful event on her own website, which you can find here.