Out with the old and in with the new is the usual saying. This New Year, many are ready to take everything that they’ve learned from the past year and apply their new found wisdom to the New Year, as they should. But one great tradition within the Duncan Tree Foundation (DTF) family is reflection. In order to go into to 2015 with a bang, we reflect on how 2014 was great and why it is important to our future endeavors!
There are many highlights and goals that we have accomplished within 2014 that we are so very proud of. To list some of them, we embarked on our Scoliosis mission trip to the Philippines in March and Jamaica in May; we hosted a fundraiser at the Philippine house in April; we received an award from the HoSang Family Foundation for outstanding community service in June. These are a few of the many that we’re extremely proud of.
One of our most memorable and exciting achievements of 2014 would have to be providing free Scoliosis surgery on 10 patients located in Jamaica at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) in May. Lance Russell is one out of the ten who have shared his appreciation for DTF, four years ago, at seventeen years old, Russell learned he had the Scoliosis after trying to enlist into the Jamaican Army and being denied due to his condition. Russell and his mother turned to KPH for consultancy on how he could get help for his condition. They found out that not only was the proper surgery financially straining ($10,000 Jamaican Dollars), but the waiting list in which he was going to be out on would leave him at patient number 70 back in 2009, the end of a long list filled with patients of urgent need. Unable to afford implants and surgical care, Russell stopped seeking medical treatment from doctors for 4 years. In early 2014, Russell learned about the DTF through Dr. Ian Neil, an orthopedic surgeon at KPH. Upon completing all necessary paperwork in April, he was able to have his life changing surgery in May. Within 48 hours of having complex spine surgery, Lance was able to walk. Forever a changed man, Lance, with the help of physiotherapy every two weeks along with good follow-up care in the clinic at KPH, Lance can now do numerous activities like standing and riding a bike, much better than before. Russell is now 22 years old and is enjoying life with family and appreciating his ability to take advantage of the small things in everyday life, something he was not always able to do before his scoliosis surgery.
For 2015, the DTF has various upcoming plans and events. We plan to host a fundraiser in Connecticut early 2015; we will be embarking on another mission trip to Philippines from April 11th through the April 18th; we also plan to embark on a sixth and seventh mission trip to Jamaica, in the Spring and Fall of 2015.
As we reflect on the past year and look forward to what is to come for 2015, DTF is grateful for the opportunities that we have had to serve the community. With love and grace we hope for a prosperous journey, and are very appreciative for our Global Giving family and supporters.
We rely on your continued support for our Global Giving partners to help bring costly implants, spinal cord monitoring and gold standard surgeries to under-served children in Jamaica and the Philippines who live less productive lives without corrective spine surgeries.
For more information about Duncan Tree Foundation, please visit our web site at www.duncantreefoundation.org.
Thanks to our generous donors, sponsors and dedicated volunteers, the Duncan Tree Foundation (DTF) Scoliosis Care Fund Project has brought relief to the lives of over 40 young people who suffered from scoliosis who live in Jamaica and the Philippines.
Idiopathic scoliosis which is the most common type of Spine deformity affects 2-3% of the general population worldwide and can reduce the lifespan of an individual especially if it occurs early in life.
Early detection is therefore very critical to treat the small curves so they don’t become severely deformed and experience major disability. The severe deformities can claim lives prematurely by compromising the cardiopulmonary system.
When it comes to surgical treatment a nation needs advanced resources, both human and facility to undertake the complex and expensive procedures required. An organization like DTF has made it possible to organize volunteer teams from the US and obtained the support of medical device companies like Medtronic and Biotronic NeuroNetwork to donated instrumentation and equipment for the spine surgeries in Jamaica.
On the island of Jamaica the needs are real. Nearly 2-3% of nearly 2.8 million Jamaicans suffer from scoliosis. According to http://www.who.int that’s approximately 81,000 Jamaicans live with scoliosis and approximately 1% of these patients need corrective spine surgery.
Currently in one of Jamaica’s largest public hospitals; Kingston Public Hospital, there are over 300 hundred young individuals on a surgical waiting list (and the list keeps growning) for three years or more, who cannot afford corrective spine surgery. In Jamaica health care is ‘free’ for children 18 and under, however, the Jamaican healthcare system does not have the ability to provide implants, screws and rods which are necessary in this delicate surgery. Implants needed for corrective spine surgery can be a minimum of up to $50,000 Jamaican dollars out-of-pocket, per patient, where the average income is under $50,000 Jamaican dollars per year. In the US just 1 implant is valued at $1,700 USD and the average patient needs 15-20 screws.
Due to DTF’s efforts, from March 2012 to May 2014 40 people received free implants and spinal cord monitoring for corrective spine surgeries in Jamaica, and in March of 2014 four young people at the Southern Philippines Medical Center received corrective spine surgery in Davao City, Philippines.
DTF’s Scoliosis Care Fund Project goal is to provide free spine implants and surgery for those who cannot afford it. DTF would like to afford these individuals an opportunity to improve their health without the burden of financial deficiency in mind. We depend on private contributions in donated time and money to keep our program going.
Scoliosis Research Society Endorses Duncan Tree Foundation Site at KPH
Recently, during the Scoliosis Research Society’s (SRS) Global Outreach Program meeting in Lyon, France; in September of 2013, the members of the SRS officially added the Duncan Tree Foundation to their renowned list of endorsed SRS sites.
Due to this major milestone, orthopedic surgeons from the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa will now be able to join DTF’s cause, and support DTF’s Scoliosis Care Fund Project at Kingston Public Hospital and Cornwall Regional Hospital by volunteering to teach, give lectures, help with capacity building and lend their support to Dr. Ian Neil the local surgeon in the Operating room.
For future progress and self-sustainability, the Duncan Tree Foundation would like our volunteers to teach and train local surgeons to support complex cases on their own.
Thanks to the support of Medtronic Foundation and Biotronic NeuroNetwork and through the generous and continued support of our donors, highly skilled volunteers and our board of directors, since March 2012 Duncan Tree Foundation has assisted 44 patients in Jamaica and the Philippines and has welcomed new medical volunteers to the team.
What the future holds for Duncan Tree with your continued support
In the coming years, Duncan Tree Foundation is scheduled to return to Jamaica twice a year and to the Philippines once per year in partnership with Orthopaedic Link.
With continued financial support, Duncan Tree Foundation would like to expand our efforts to 50 or more patients a year by 2017.
Why we exist?
Being healthy and having all of life’s essentials are not tangible objects that all people are afforded. Healthcare and well-being are without a doubt, crucial to one’s well-being.
It is organizations like Duncan Tree Foundation that offer the opportunity for individuals who cannot afford it on their own; to receive free implants, spinal cord monitoring and safe surgical procedures at no cost with donated equipment, emotional support and spiritual guidance, to make a difference in the lives of many young people.
Education for prevention; reduction; treatment of non-communicable diseases, and recruiting medical volunteers in developing countries, are all prime contributing factors to the Duncan Tree Foundation’s mission. In all great efforts, Duncan Tree Foundation has taken initiative and action in ensuring that their efforts to impact neighborhoods, communities and single individuals are met.
We rely on your continued support for our Global Giving partners to help bring costly implants, spinal cord monitoring and gold standard surgeries to under served children in Jamaica and the Philippines who live less productive lives without corrective spine surgeries.
We are pleased to report that Duncan Tree Foundation now impacts the lives of adolescents with scoliosis in both hemispheres of the globe! Our first successful surgical mission trip to the Philippines took place between March 20-March 29, 2014. During this latest mission DTF partnered with Orthopaedic Link, Medtronic Foundation, Medtronic Asean Region, and Biotronic NeuroNetwork to provide donated implants, state-of-the-art neuro-monitoring for safer surgical outcomes and surgical expertise. Together we delivered in four successful corrective spine surgeries at Southern Philippines Medical Center.
In addition to transforming the lives of four adolescents we raised awareness of post-operative psycho-social effects on young people through a two-lecture series given by members of our team. Furthermore our mission provided a unique opportunity for Philippine-based surgical residents to observe neuro-monitoring, a technique about which they had only since read in text books. We are excited to continue working with Orthopaedic Link, Medtronic Foundation, Medtronic Asean Region, and Biotronic NeuroNetwork when we return for our next trip anticipated Spring of 2015.
In a month's time, DTF volunteers as well as partners Biotronic NeuroNetwork and Medtronic Foundation will continue our work at Kingston Public Hospital as we return to operate on ten adolescents with moderate to severe scoliosis. None of our work would be possible without generous donations of time, expertise, and equipment made by our partners. Equally important, your contribution enables us to cover logistical expenses which allow our surgeons, technicians and support personnel to efficiently carry out their duties. Thank you for donations! We look forward to your continued support.
DTF Complex Spine Team
Duncan Tree Foundation would like to thank you for your continued support through Global Giving. Because of donors and sponsors like you, Duncan Tree continues to reach major milestones in our mission to provide complex spine surgery to the underserved in Jamaica. We recently completed our fourth scoliosis mission trip where, in addition to operating on 7-8 adolescents at Kingston Public Hospital we also conducted 2 surgeries in Montego Bay.
While at Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, the DTF team made history by successfully performing the first spine surgeries ever to take place at Cornwall Regional Hospital. Both patients (13 year old Sabrina Campbell and 16 year old Monecia Lawrence) are doing very well after surgery. Prior to this mission trip, all scoliosis surgeries had been performed at Kingston Public Hospital where all of the surgical equipment and talents were.
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President & Founder