Free scoliosis surgery for underserved teens

Apr 14, 2014

Expanding the Scope of Our Impact

Dr. Cauilan examines child with an 80 degree curve
Dr. Cauilan examines child with an 80 degree curve

Dear donors,

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

Ouida and the mother and son who inspired our trip
Ouida and the mother and son who inspired our trip
Dr Cauilan and Dr Dheera Ananthakrishnan in the OR
Dr Cauilan and Dr Dheera Ananthakrishnan in the OR
Dec 27, 2013

How you have helped change 26 lives

Sabrina, 13 yrs old moments before spine surgery
Sabrina, 13 yrs old moments before spine surgery

Dear Donors,

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.


When we spoke to the mothers of two surgery recipients; Sabrina Campbell and Monecia Lawrence we were reminded why we pushed so hard to ensure the mission to Cornwall Regional Hospital moved forward (a month before our mission trip, which was 18 months in the making, the hospital administrators informed DTF that the trip might need to be postponed).
Dawn Lawrence pictured here, (mother of Monecia) told us about how difficult it was to know that she couldn't afford to pay for implants for her daughter's surgery because she didn't have have a job. She told us that if her daughter's surgery was done in Kingston, she would have to struggle to find bus fare to travel 3.5-4 hrs from Montego Bay and not have money to pay for a hotel room. Without financial support Ms. Lawrence said she would have to sleep on the benches at Kingston Publich Hospital until her daughter was well enough to be released from the hospital.

Not having the money to afford implants for their daughter's surgeries, Sabrina's and Monecia's mothers were praying for a miracle, and the miracle came in the form of implants donated by Medtroinc, spinal cord monitoring donated by Biotronic and the visiting DTF team (Dr. Ken Paonessa, Dr. Jim Damato, Dr. Mark Lee, Wesley Tanaka, Bob Smith, Meredith Connell, Tracy D'Amato, Christina Regan, and Nat Valentine) who gave of their compassion, time and talents. 
Duncan Tree could not have accomplished these things without continued support from donors, sponsors and partners. Since the inception of our complex spine program in March 2012, Duncan Tree has provided free scoliosis surgery to 26 young people in Jamaica.
In March of 2014, Duncan Tree travels to Davao City, Philippines to assist 5 young people who need scoliosis surgery with spinal cord monitoring. We then return to Jamaica in the Spring and Fall of 2014 to assist a total of 20 patients.
We continue to look forward to partnering with you for upcoming surgical visits!
Dawn Lawrence giving her testimony
Dawn Lawrence giving her testimony
Sabrina, her mom and Dr. Paonessa, day of surgery
Sabrina, her mom and Dr. Paonessa, day of surgery
patients awaiting pre-surgery exam by DTF team
patients awaiting pre-surgery exam by DTF team
Monecia Lawrence and her mom Dawn
Monecia Lawrence and her mom Dawn
Sabrina walking 1 day after scoliosis surgery
Sabrina walking 1 day after scoliosis surgery


Sep 23, 2013

Reflecting on the Fruit of our Partnership

Curved spines now straightened
Curved spines now straightened


Dear Donors,
The fruit of our efforts is found in the lives of the young people we transform through the healing of their bodies.   
Our team and partners are currently preparing for our trip this October 31st through November 10th, where we will operate on ten more adolescents and bring access to complex spine surgery to a part of the island where it was previously unavailable.  In addition we will continue to coordinate continuing medical education lectures.  Furthermore we intend to assist with spine trauma cases as time and resources permit.  While preparing for the trip we thought we would share with you a look at what your financial contributions have helped make possible.  Together with your contributions we are enhancing the health care of a country!

DTF Complex Spine Program Surgery Recipients:

MARCH 2012

NICKESHA, 16 years old

MONIQUE, 16 years old



SASHAGAYE, 13 years old

AMEKIA, 15 years old

DOMINIQUE, 13 years old

SHANEKA, 17 years old

ROMARIO, 14 years old

DONOVAN,  22 years old


MARCH 2013

SHANNAY,  18 years old

ORLANDO, 17 years old

BRITANIA, 13 years old

DERIESE, 14 years old

MICHELLE, 14 years old

DANECIA, 16 years old

YAVANNIA, 16 years old

Jun 17, 2013

Three Surgical Trips, Sixteen Futures Brightened

Sixteen.  That's the number of young lives that have been transformed in only three trips by a thriving collaboration between Duncan Tree Foundation, Medtronic, Biotronic, the Scoliosis Research Society and of course, you!

We are gearing up for our fourth trip to Jamaica to take place in November.  This trip will aim to treat an additional 8 individuals giving them a renewed sense of hope for their futures.  In addition, we are laying the ground work for expanding our program in a part of the island where access to scoliosis surgical care is currently unavailable.  Finally, leading up to our next trip we will begin to enlist and coordinate the resources needed to train local spinal cord monitors and nurses.

These are exciting times!  However, the fact is, these initiatives simply will not be possible without financial contribution.  We need your help if we are to transport surgeons, technicians, support staff and implants to our sites in Jamaica.  Our track record speaks for itself, our partners are ready and willing, our mission defined; your financial support is all we need.  Donate today, join us in changing not only individual lives but a region's health care.

Mar 15, 2013

Partnering to Treat Spine Deformity

Since the our first trip to Jamaica last March, there have been eight beneficiaries of the Duncan Tree Foundation's Complex Spine Program, which targets scoliosis and other spine deformities.  We are planning to add eight more to the list of beneficiaries this April when we return to Kingston Public Hospital with our surgical team. The completion of this trip will put us past the half-way point of our initial goal of 25 adolescents! Thank you for helping to make this possible.

The past year has seen our Program grow by leaps and bounds. Through our partners Medtronic and Biotronics, we facilitated the donation of spinal monitoring and spinal implants valued at over $128,000.  Furthermore, our program is to be endorsed by the Scoliosis Research Society, affording us continued access to highly experienced surgeons willing to volunteer their time and skills.

In addition to meeting acute needs with these surgeries, we have also begun to coordinate a training program in neuro-monitoring for native Jamaican technicians.  This will enhance the standard of care during complex spine procedures by providing a critically needed skill that is not readily available in Jamaica.

The partners mentioned above are committed to helping us change the lives of young people in Jamaica afflicted with scoliosis. The financial support you provide is key to our efforts, as the transportation and logistical costs associated with these surgical trips is prohibitive.  We would like to formally extend an invitation for you to partner with us and help make these surgeries possible. Join the partnership by contributing today!

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Project Leader

Ouida Duncan

President & Founder
Jamaica, New York United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Free scoliosis surgery for underserved teens