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2006 Medical Mission

A dedicated team of volunteers has just returned from the Guatemala Healing Hands Foundation’s 2006 medical mission. To say that they had an incredible, inspiring, and enlightening time would be an understatement. Not only did they affect the children, parents, students, therapists and doctors of this colorful country, but they opened the volunteers’ eyes to a world of love, hope, and strength.

Meeting the children and families of Guatemala and being able to facilitate in the healing of their tragic injuries and birth defects was beyond exciting. Volunteers were able to give these children the use of their hands, so that they can begin to carve a future for themselves in this poverty and crime-ridden country. They will no longer feel discarded and worthless. The confidence witnessed in their eyes was pure joy.

Although the numbers are still being calculated, volunteers were able to screen over 75 children at the Pediatric Foundation of Guatemala and operated on 44 children, many of whom received multiple procedures. Volunteers visited numerous therapy facilities such as the Pediatric Foundation, the Pediatric Burn Clinic located at the Roosevelt Hospital, the Hospital Infectologia y Rehabilitacion, Hospital General de Accidentes, and the San Sebastian Hospital, where volunteer therapists evaluated over 100 patients, fabricated many splints, and consulted on patient care.

The Foundation also held its third annual International Educational Conference in Guatemala City on July 14 and 15 in conjunction with the Pediatric Foundation, the Guatemala Hand Therapy Society, and the Guatemala Hand Surgery Society. Over 400 local doctors, therapists, and nurses attended. GHHF thanks and acknowledges Dr. Gustavo Lopez and Dr. Lionel Foncea Kroker for their hard work and assistance in facilitating this successful educational collaboration. Their energy and support has been crucial for helping GHHF reach its goals. GHHF would also like to thank Ileana Aguilar, the 2005 Freeland Award winner, for her dedication and tireless efforts at making this conference a successful event.

The Guatemala Healing Hands Foundation was also proud to award Marta Beatriz Pineda with the 2006 Freeland Award. This award is given annually to a qualified Guatemalan therapist who demonstrates determination and passion and excels in the area of hand therapy. The winner will attend the American Association for Hand Surgery’s yearly scientific meeting and will travel throughout the United States visiting and volunteering at hand therapy clinics. This award was established in 2005 in honor of Dr. Alan Freeland’s relentless and selfless dedication to promoting the best in hand surgery and hand therapy care around the world.

The Guatemala Healing Hands Foundation would also like to congratulate Dr. Lourdes Satiso and Dr. Carlos Quintero of Guatemala City, on winning the first GHHF clinical and/or scientific paper presentation award. Winners received a monetary prize and their winning papers will also be submitted to participate in a scientific annual meeting in the United States.

Although GHHF worked relentlessly during their stay in Guatemala, most of their team managed to find time to visit the beautiful towns of Antigua, Chichicastenango, Tikal, and Lake Atitlan. We ate well, shopped hard, and enjoyed the harmonious melodies of the native marimbas.

For more information about the Guatemala Healing Hands Foundation, please visit their website at www.guatemalahands.org. If you have any questions, wish to join them on future missions, or would like to make a charitable contribution, please do not hesitate to contact them at ghhf@guatemalahands.org or (866) 74-HANDS.

GHHF’s continuing efforts to improve hand surgery and therapy in Guatemala have already begun to form revolutionary changes. With your continued support, the prospect of Guatemalan hand care has a very promising future.

 

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