From the Richmond Times Dispatch and NBC12
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -
A miraculous spinal surgery performed in Richmond saved the life of an 18-year-old girl from the Caribbean.
Chequana Gilkes traveled back to St. Mary's Hospital to say thank you Friday. She's spent most of her life visiting multiple doctors and in constant pain with an 80-degree spine curvature. She prayed that someday she could have it fixed, and her prayers came true thanks to the World Pediatric Project.
As she prepared to return to St. Vincent, Chequana found out that she would go home with a new, custom-fit manual wheelchair. It was donated by Trustcare Home Medical Equipment, based in Glen Allen.
Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.
Sharena was the very first patient to receive corrective scoliosis surgery by the World Pediatric Project scoliosis team in November 2011. Since Sharena’s life-changing procedure, WPP’s scoliosis teams have treated an additional 15 young adults through the generosity of donated surgical implants from DePuy Spine.
Just a few short days after Sharena’s procedure, she was up and walking and experienced a very smooth recovery in the weeks to follow. Sharena is from the island of Dominica and has stayed in touch with World Pediatric Project since her successful surgery.
She is now a strong advocate for WPP’s work in her region and, in May 2013, was among a group of WPP patients and supporters to meet with members of the Dominica Ministry of Health and inform them of WPP’s work in the Eastern Caribbean – particularly the ways it has impacted residents of Dominica – and advocate for their support.
WPP’s presence continues to grow in the Eastern Caribbean region, as illustrated by a growing proportion of patients from the surrounding islands attending WPP clinics throughout the year.
Thank you for supporting patients like Sharena and enabling World Pediatric Project to continue to grow and reach more children in need!
World Pediatric Project's orthopedic program in the Eastern Caribbean continues to grow each year as more children from the region are seeking care through WPP’s orthopedic mission teams in St. Vincent. This year, WPP will facilitate two surgical missions - one focused on the correction of scoliosis (already completed) and one focused on general pediatric orthopedic needs (happening next month) – as well as a diagnostic physical therapy mission and training workshop. Through these three rotating teams, children from the Eastern Caribbean are connected with world-class pediatric orthopedic specialists and are able to receive the specialty care they need in their home region. We look forward to introducing you next month to the recent children helped as a result of your generosity!
Dear friend, I'm honored to have the opportunity to write to you and share my experience volunteering my time to travel to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to photograph World Pediatric Project's second ever scoliosis mission there. I'm left with unbelievable memories and countless new friends I hope to visit again at some time in the future. The all-volunteer team, led by Dr. Chester Sharps from Bon Secours Richmond, Virginia, performed 11 complicated but life-changing surgeries and evaluated nearly 70 children from St. Vincent, St. Kitts, St. Lucia and Grenada. Eight of the procedures were spinal fusion surgeries to heal children suffering from scoliosis. Dr. Sharps explained to me that scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, is a debilitating condition that in many cases threatens the everyday lives of young patients, as well as the financial health of their families. If left untreated, scoliosis tragically impacts a child's quality of life through poor health, limited mobility and embarrassment caused by social ostracism. Now that I've met these children and their families in person and heard their stories while sharing hugs and tears, I truly understand the important of WPP's work. In addition, seeing these children walk tall and straight at the end of the mission after successful surgeries made me realize that this team may be trained as physicians, surgeons, nurses and technicians - but for 8 days in November in St. Vincent - they were angels performing God's workwith unselfish and amazing grace, love, care, skill and compassion. Thank you for YOUR role in making this mission possible. Tom Veazey, WPP volunteer photographer Tom Veazey Photography
We recently asked Dr. Eric Gordon, pediatric orthopedic surgeon from St. Louis, about his experience traveling to help children with severe orthopedic conditions in the Eastern Caribbean.
“The most gratifying part of the trip for me and the team was to see how much the families appreciated the treatment they received,” said Dr. Gordon.
“The families that came to see us didn’t have much,” he continued. “There was a mom who was so grateful for what we had done that she went home to bake a cake for the surgeon.”
In St. Vincent, and many of the surrounding island nations, the populations are too small to sustain a pediatric-specific orthopedic practice. WPP teams like Dr. Gordon’s help to provide the specialty, pediatricorthopedic skills needed to save and change young lives. Just one of these lives is two year old Michelle.
“My favorite story is of a two year-old and her mother who just walked in to the clinic,” said Dr. Gordon. “We didn’t know they were coming but were so glad they did, as Michelle had a septic, or infected, hip. If left untreated, the infection could kill the hip rendering her immobile for life.”
Dr. Gordon’s team performed a one hour surgery to drain the hip and then prescribed antibiotics for the infection.
“Michelle is doing great and was walking by the end of the week. She will be just fine!”
Thank you for your support of teams like Dr. Gordon’s to help children like Michelle!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
This project is no longer accepting donations.
Still want to help?
Find another project in
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
that needs your help.