Friday, April 25, 2008

End of week update

Here is a more recent picture of Alfrelina. She is staying with Salem for a couple days and tomorrow Salem is traveling to bring her out to me. (Sarah) She is eating well and gaining weight. She has a doctor's appointment Monday then we can update everyone on her current weight gain. Go Lena- Eat Eat Eat! We heard from Dr. H and they feel she would be safe for her lip repair at 10lbs, so that is our goal for right now.
Please pray for safe travels for Salem and Co. :)
Martine: We are working on getting all her paperwork together by the 30th so it can be hand carried down to Haiti. So far everyone involved has really stepped up and gotten the paperwork required done quickly, we are so impressed and so grateful with every one's hard work this week in the paperwork department!
Ruth-Nallie: We don't have anything definite for Baby Nallie yet. Please keep her in your prayers and we are hoping to have things together for her soon!
Sonel: Sonel should be traveling soon for his club feet repairs. Yeah!
Surgeries coming up: Roubens, Schnider, and Baby Di are all having surgery soon. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Jean-Alex: His 2nd surgery is next week! He is doing well right now healing from his last surgery. Prayers. :)
Samuel: After much searching we have found that Samuel can get at least some further diagnostic evaluations in Ghana. We are awaiting prices for this to happen and hope to help so that he can financially afford to have this done in country. We will keep you all updated on how things come together for him.
Other children: We have several children who are being considered right now and are close to finding care, and several others that we are waiting on more information about. We are hoping to have these things soon so we can work on getting them the help that they need.
Medical Donations Coordinators:
We have had two wonderful women volunteer to help with medical donations! Yeah!!!
Thanks so much for stepping up and lending a hand!
We hope that you all have a wonderful weekend and thanks for checking in with us.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Yeah for Martine! We have both charity care arranged from the doctor and the hospital for Martine! We are so excited for her of course.

Please keep her in your prayers. She does have a cold right now which can affect her more because of her heart issues. She could use our extra prayers right now.

We are hoping that the paperwork will come together in the next few weeks so that she can travel to the US as soon as possible for her life saving surgery.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Amazing Helande

About this time last year we (the MAT team) was making plans for two babies to come to the US for Neurosurgery. We were welcomed with open arms by a loving doctor "A" and her staff/hospital in Austin Texas in early May 2007. Not only had they agreed to provide the charity care for Helande, but also a 2nd child AT THE SAME TIME! Amazing.
Helande had an occipital encephaloce, similar to baby Diuenettes. These are the pictures of her before, and after. (This week in Haiti with her family, she is looking so divine and doing so well.)

It is such an awesome blessing to be able to keep in touch with the families and children that we help. It gives us all a great source of inspiration and motivation for all the waiting children.
Here is a short video documentary of both Helande and Christella and the journey they took last year:

Updates and a need!

Baby Di: The picture above is of Baby Di dressed in her "Sunday Best" with her Momma getting ready to leave Haiti for the US. She is now safely with her host family and doing great! She had her first visit with her NS last week and is going to have her surgery soon. They scheduled the MRI and surgery for the same time so she only has to be sedated the one time. Thanks so much to the H. family and NS for doing such a wonderful job with Baby Di. We will continue to keep you all updated throughout her stay here in the US.

Alex: Alex's shunt surgery went well. He does have a bit of a cold and was running a fever after surgery. They had expected to discharge him last night but because of the fever, decided to keep in the hospital for a bit longer. His host Mom, Kim, hopes that they will get out soon. He had his last dose of pain meds and tylenol this morning and has been fever free all day long! Praise! So possibly tomorrow they will be out of the hospital. He did have an MRI after the surgery and the VP shunt appears to be working fine. They are culturing his CSF fluid from surgery and so far it hasn't shown any signs of infection. Alex will return to Sacramento soon to have the next part of his surgery. (To close and repair his encephalocele.) Kim reports that the people in Sacramento have been lovely and gracious and so supportive of Jean Alex! Yeah!! Thanks everyone.

Alfrelina: Baby "Lena" (shortened name) is doing well. She left Haiti 12 days ago with Vanessa from Angel Missions Haiti and was dehydrated and not doing well. (Only 5 lbs.) We are very thankful for the wonderful Doctor and Hospital who rushed and were able to get the charity care letters done quickly and for the work of AMH for rushing the visa process. Little Lena just had to come when she did! Since her 12 days with Vanessa she has gained on average 2 ounces PER DAY! That is wonderful news. She is now up to 6lbs 12 oz. She has also gained 1/2 inch in head circumference and 1.5 inches in length. Go Lena Go! We expect that Baby Lena will be able to come out here to WA state sometime in the next week or so. (My family is hosting her, this is "Sarah" writing this.) Lena had a doctor's appointment today for a check up and they report that she is doing great overall considering the circumstances. Lena will need to be 12 lbs before she has the first surgery to repair her cleft lip. Thanks again to everyone for their hard work and effort for Lena and her family.

Martine: Martine in Haiti has been sick. She is on IV meds and getting great care from the people at COTP and the local hospital. Please keep her in your prayers as well as her caregivers. We are hoping she is now on the mend and going to be able to come soon. We are waiting on the final hospital approval from the wonderful people in Portland.

Samuel in Ghana: We have a wonderful doctor and MRI place willing to do diagnostics in TX for Samuel. We are hoping that they are able to get his Ghana paperwork together soon. We are waiting on somethings before we are sure if he will be able to apply for a Visa. Please keep him and the people in Ghana who are working on his behalf in your prayers.

Those are all the updates for now. As you can see we are working on care for many more children right now and sometimes this is just a slow process. I would say that typically things don't come together as fast as they have recently for some of our children, and that is OK. We all know that things WILL come together in due time. If you have any interest in making calls or helping to get medical care organized for our waiting children, please let any of us know. This is a constant very important need.

Another Need!!

We are in need of a Donations Coordinator. We have wonderful people who work on fundraising but we were hoping to have someone else handle "physical" donations. The volunteer job would entail mainly writing letters and making contacts for donations for medical supplies. After the past weeks of hearing how malnourished Alfrelina and other children have been in the past by not having access to the often pricey cleft palate bottles that they need, we realized this is a very important need.

Also if you have a child who is currently using cleft feeders, or other special feeding tools, please hang onto them. We would like to be able to take these donations and supply the ministries, missionaries and NGO's with them not only in Haiti, but also throughout Africa. (So that they are there available when children need them.)

Also we would love donations for other medical supplies and equipment that you may have used and no longer need! :) (I know that I am personally hanging onto my daughter's AFO's to pass along to another child who could use them.)

If you are interested in helping, just email Salem or Sarah.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sacramento Bee story on Jean Alex

Haitian infant has Sacramento neurosurgeon on his side
By Dorsey Griffith - dgriffith@sacbee.comPublished 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, April 16, 2008

He is just 3 months old, and already tiny Jean Alex Demosthene has a far brighter lease on life.
The Haitian infant, who arrived in Sacramento on Tuesday morning, will undergo neurosurgery today at Sutter Memorial Hospital.

The operation, donated by the surgeon and Sutter, will be phase one of a more complicated repair of a hole in his skull that has allowed part of his brain to squeeze out, forming a large bubble under the skin above his nose.

Called an encephalocele, the deformity can cause problems for children that extend far beyond any cosmetic concern.

The 13-pound tot came to Sacramento in the arms of 32-year-old Kim Smith, a Washington state mother of three and volunteer with the Medical Advocacy Team, a program of Remember International Inc., a nonprofit group linking children who have unmet medical needs with U.S. surgeons and hospitals willing to treat them without charge.

Smith learned of the child from Lori Moise, an American nurse who runs a clinic in Cazale, a rural village in Haiti north of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

"The parents had walked from Dessale, about an hour and a half away," Moise said, in a telephone interview from Haiti.
"They did not know what (the deformity) was. Some told them to kill the baby, but the mom couldn't do that."

In rural Haiti, Moise explained, facial deformities can be viewed as the work of the devil, a curse that can spell trouble, for example, for a pregnant woman who looks at the affected child.

"Some of the more uneducated people can't comprehend that this would be a medical condition," she said.

In this case, the infant's parents knew of another child whose cleft lip and palate were being repaired in the United States with the help of Moise and the Medical Advocacy Team.
Smith, who was planning a trip to Haiti to make arrangements for the adoption of a baby boy, agreed to bring Jean Alex home and then to Sacramento for the surgery.

Smith paid all of the travel expenses herself; her husband, a police officer, is off-duty for a few days watching their children.

On Tuesday, Smith sat in a rocker next to the hospital crib, feeding a hungry Jean Alex from a bottle as the infant looked up into her friendly, if still unfamiliar face.
Smith said she will take care of the baby until he is well enough to return home with another of the group's volunteers.

An immediate concern is the spinal fluid that has started leaking from the bubble, leaving Jean Alex highly vulnerable to life-threatening infections such as bacterial meningitis.
Today, Dr. Sam Ciricello will insert a shunt into his brain, to relieve pressure and drain the accumulating fluid.

The shunt, most likely permanent, will empty the excess fluid into his abdomen.
The shunt surgery should allow Jean Alex to heal to the point where his encephalocele can be surgically repaired, probably in a few weeks.

Ciricello said that operation involves opening the skull, sealing off the sac of fluid inside the brain, and then repairing the open space in the skull with new bone.

Ciricello said these kinds of "neural tube" deformities tend to show up more often in infants whose mothers lacked prenatal care or did not take folic acid, the B vitamin that helps prevent birth defects during pregnancy.

Also, in more industrialized countries, severe brain abnormalities are typically detected early on, when pregnancy can be safely terminated, he said.

Although the deformities can be repaired, Ciricello said Jean Alex and others like him still face possible complications including seizure disorders, vision problems and learning disabilities.
Regardless, Smith, Moise and others helping these children hope Jean Alex can be an example of hope in a place where others like him have not been as lucky.

For information on the Medical Advocacy Team or to make a donation, go to

Monday, April 7, 2008

04/07/08 Update

We have accepted the referral of two new Haitian children. These children were referred to us by Zanmi Lasante/Partners in Health. Jean Terry is about 5 months old. Shelda is about 13 months old. Both children have VSD's (Ventricular Septal Defect) and require heart surgery not available to them in Haiti. We are waiting on their echocardiograms and information - which we hope to have by the end of the week.

Jean Terry


Real Hope for Haiti has referred to us two children born with ambiguous genitalia. We have been working with a wonderful urologist in NC that is very eager to provide surgery for both children. His initial contact with the hospital was good and they seemed receptive to the idea of donating hospital care to these children - so please pray this comes together smoothly. Lori will be getting us updated information on these children this week.

Beautiful Ruth-Nallie

The Team has been working hard to secure care for an absolutely darling baby girl in Haiti named Ruth-Nallie. Ruth-Nallie has struggled all her life. She has been diagnosed with Pierre-Robin Sequence. She has a heart defect and a cleft palate. She is almost a year old and weighs little more than 6 lbs. We know there is a doctor and hospital out there willing and able to step up and provide the life-saving care this beautiful girl needs.

Gabriel in Guinea-Bissau

Little Gabriel is still looking for an orthopedic surgeon willing to help him. Gabriel lives in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. We really want to help this little guy - his life certainly has not been easy and he deserves all the assistance we can give him. One of this legs is much shorter than the other. His left leg is 70cm and his right leg is 42cm! He was also born without arms but we think we can find a prosthetics clinic in Africa to help him, so at this point we're just trying to find someplace to work on his legs. Might you know an orthopaedic surgeon willing to consider sweet Gabriel's case?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Adult XL shirts are gone.

We still have some t-shirts left, but we are completely out of adult XL. If there is enough interest we may order another batch of shirts. Email us and let us know if you want to order more shirts or know someone that does.

Thank you for supporting the Medical Advocacy Team!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Jean Alex is here.

Jean Alex is in the United States and with his lovely host family, Jeremiah and Kim. He will be having surgery in CA to fix his encephalocele. You can watch Kims blog for updates on little Alex.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Contact Us

Remember International, INC.
the Medical Advocacy Team
PO Box 340
Albany, OH 45710

Salem -
Sarah -

Medical care coordinators:
Rachel -
Ericka -

Fundraising coordinator:
Jamie -

Host family coordinator:

Medical Supply Donations: