Friday, May 23, 2008

MAT Cleft Campaign

A cleft lip and/or palate is one of the world's most common birth defects. Studies show that it occurs in approximately 1 in 700 children, worldwide.

A child born with cleft lip/palate has trouble eating. Most infants can't breastfeed (they can't latch on) and many have a very hard time eating out of a regular bottle. In United States hospitals, every child born with a cleft is sent home with a special bottle that doesn't require the infant to suck and allows them to eat normally. In the world's poorest countries these bottles are scarce, and children often die because their families have no way to feed them.

Babies are dying simply because they don't have access to the $3 bottle they need.

The Medical Advocacy Team is starting a Cleft Campaign. We will be collecting these special cleft nipple/bottle sets and distributing them to medical clinics, hospitals and orphanages in developing countries. We plan to begin the project in Haiti, and if we collect enough bottles, we will distribute them in other countries.

We are developing a pamphlet that will be distributed with the bottles explaining the cleft lip/palate and teaching the family how to feed their special baby. These pamphlets will be translated into the native language of the country and will include illustrations. They will also tell the family who to contact about getting help for their cleft -affected child.

The in-country clinics with which we work are excited about this project, and we are grateful for the privilege of helping them save the lives of many children. Please help us help them. 100% of your donation goes toward buying the nipple/bottle sets. The MAT will be kicking off the Cleft Campaign with a commitment to purchase 74 bottles. Our group and other volunteers will cover the costs of transport. Please help us!

This is a unique opportunity to give in a small way that will make a huge difference in a child's life.

We can do something to prevent these deaths.

Donate Today:

Mead Johnson Cleft Lip/Palate Nurser (the most economical option)

$19 - Pack of 6 Nursers
$144 - Case of 74 Nursers

We will gladly accept and distribute gently used cleft bottles and nipples if you or someone you know has some they would like to donate. Please contact us for a shipping address.

Spread the Word

Please spread the word about the new MAT Cleft Campaign.

Feel free to copy this button and paste it on your websites and blogs.

Thank you for your help and support!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Sonel will be having surgery this Friday for his club feet. After surgery he will spend sometime in casts to help keep his feet in the right position. Please keep Sonel and his host family in your thoughts and prayers-especially on Friday.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


This beautiful little boy is Clepson. He is from Love A Child, Inc. in Haiti.

Clepson has a problem with one of his eyes and it causes him a lot of pain. He will need to have the eye removed and a prosthetic put in its place. We have found a wonderful doctor and surgery center in WA willing to provide the care that Clepson needs. We are currently waiting for all the paperwork to come together and then he will come for surgery - hopefully soon!

Doesn't he have a great smile?!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Jean Alex recovering well... TV debut!

Here is sweet Alex recovering well after surgery. He made his TV debut today with his host Mom Kim and his wonderful Dr. C.

Kim will be heading home tomorrow with Alex after his week of recovery time. He is healing well and going great!

Please check out this link to watch the news debut:

And here is a 2nd story from the SacBee about Alex:

Haitian baby comes through brain surgery in Sacramento
By Dorsey Griffith -

Jean Alex Demosthene rests in the lap of host mother Kim Smith on Monday after the baby had neurosurgery at Sutter Memorial Hospital. Carl Costas /

After the bandages came off Monday, it seemed Jean Alex Demosthene somehow knew the worst was over.
With his dark eyes darting around the room at Sutter Memorial Hospital, and a big, gummy grin, the Haitian infant showed he had come through a four-hour brain surgery like a champ.
Now the real healing can begin.

Wearing a tiny green hospital gown, the 4-month-old sat in the lap of his volunteer host mother, who had brought him from Haiti to Sacramento for the donated surgery.
On Friday, neurosurgeon Sam Ciricillo repaired a hole in the baby's skull that had allowed part of his brain to push out and form a bubble over his nose. The deformity is called an encephalocele.
It was the infant's second trip to Sacramento and to Sutter Memorial.
Last month, Ciricillo inserted a shunt into the baby's brain to drain fluid accumulating around the encephalocele, relieve dangerous pressure and prepare him for surgery.
Jean Alex made the trip in the arms of Kim Smith, a Washington state resident and volunteer with the Medical Advocacy Team, a program of Remember International Inc.
The nonprofit group recruits American surgeons and hospitals to provide free care to children who otherwise have no access to medical expertise in their own countries.
An American nurse who runs a clinic in rural Haiti where the baby was first seen, said children with facial deformities such as Jean Alex's are often shunned. In rural areas, parents of children with such abnormalities are encouraged to let the babies die.
To repair the problem, Ciricillo said he made an ear-to-ear incision across the top of the baby's skull, removed part of his skull and then cut out the damaged tissue. He also made an incision over the top of the baby's nose to remove additional brain tissue before repairing the hole with bone material.
On Monday, the bubble was still visible above Jean Alex's nose, but only because of expected swelling from the surgery, Ciricillo said.
Jean Alex will be discharged from the hospital today and will remain with his host family in Washington another four to six months to ensure no complications arise.
Ciricillo said only time will tell whether the baby will suffer seizures as a result of brain damage caused by the deformity.
For information on the Medical Advocacy Team or to make a donation, go to

Monday, May 5, 2008

Prayers for Baby Di

Here is an adorable picture of Baby Di and her host Mom in NE. We hear that Baby Di is now the ruler of the house and doing wonderfully while she waits for her surgery. Please keep Baby Di, her host family and her family waiting in Haiti in your prayers. Baby Di will be having surgery to repair her occipital encephalocele this Thursday May 8th. This is a serious brain surgery so please keep her very skilled Neurosurgeon in your thoughts and prayers as well. We will give updates as we have them.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Jean Alex's 2nd surgery

Jean Alex had his 2nd surgery today in Sacramento. Please keep him in your prayers for quick healing. This surgery removed part of his brain and closed up his encephalocele internally. They also had to put a piece of artificial bone in to close up the area of his skull that was missing. He will be in the PICU for several more days. If you want to read more frequent updates about Jean Alex and his journey, please visit his host Mom's blog at:

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Fedlene and Britnie

We have found a doctor in North Carolina willing to care for both of our girls with ambiguous genitalia. Lori at Real Hope for Haiti has gotten us all of the requested information on both children and we are currently waiting for hospital approval. Please pray that the hospital agrees to take on these kids as charity cases and that everything will come together for them to come soon for care. They have been waiting quite a while, and we're excited to get them the care they need to live normal, healthy lives.

If you live in/near Charlotte, North Carolina and are interested in possibly hosting one or both of these girls while they are here in the United States for care, please contact us and let us know.

T-Shirt Orders

Hi everyone,

The woman who handles the t-shirt orders is in Haiti until next week. If you ordered a shirt recently (lets say within the last week and a half or so) your shirt probably hasn't been shipped yet and will get sent out when she returns.

All other t-shirt orders have been sent out. If you ordered a t-shirt and haven't received it please email me (Salem - and let me know know so that we can try to figure out what happened.

We do still have some t-shirts available. (We are completely out of XL adult shirts though.) If you are interested in ordering a shirt, you can do so through the link on the right hand side of the blog.

Thanks again for your support!!!

Salem Richards