Haiti VTT2 Moves Ahead Quickly

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      As you read this article, the second VTT project to es-tablish a pediatric heart surgery unit at St. Damien’s Hospital in Haiti should be approved by RI. This new VTT Grant has taken an incredible amount of effort and hours to coor-dinate all of the resources. This year we are expand-ing the project greatly with a total of at least seven partners working together. Our final goal is making the lives of young Haitians with varying heart defects no longer a matter of a life of suffering or, more likely, early death. We will con-tinue to train some of the previous intensive care unit specialist from last year, bringing them closer to be-ing completely self-sufficient in staffing their new unit at St. Damien’s in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. At the same time we are very excited to include in this year’s VTT, a scholarship that will allow for one year of training for, what will eventually be, the only pe-diatric heart doctor in Haiti. She will eventually be part of the new unit at St. Damien’s.

     The VTT partners, Rotary District 6630; Akron Chil-dren’s Hospital (ACH); Gift-of-Life Northeast Ohio (G-of L NEO); Gift-of-Life In-ternational (G-of-L –I); the RC of Port-au-Prince, Haiti; St. Damien’s Hospital (SDH); and the University of Martinique are all part of this grant. Dr. Jeff Kempf leads the team at ACH. Rotarian Ken Fogle who also heads G-of-L NEO has coordinated much of both grants. Rob Raylman and Brenda Small of G-of-L-I have been a tremendous help on the ground in Haiti.

     Brigitte Hudicourt from the RC of Port-au-Prince who will lead the team coming to ACH to train has been a valuable liaison between her French speaking club and all of the other part-ners. Father Rick Fre-chette and his staff at St. Damien’s continue to offer any assistance we need including reduced cost housing and food service to team members in Haiti. Dr. Noisette, a young doc-tor from Haiti will continue her pediatric heart doctor training for one year at the University of Martinique. The key part of this giant puzzle is the grant writer Jim Eldridge. Jim is a member of the RC of Bur-ton-Middlefield and previ-ously served on the District 6630 Grants Committee. He has worked tirelessly pulling all of these pieces together and coming up with the final application. Jim traditionally shuns no-toriety but his work cannot go unappreciated or unrec-ognized.

     This entire effort has been made possible by the in-credible generosity of 16 Rotary Clubs in District 6630. The RCs of Akron, Burton-Middlefield, Chagrin Valley, Chardon, Chester-land, Cleveland, Cuyahoga Falls, Hillcrest, Hudson-sr, Lakewood/Rocky River-noon, Mentor, Northamp-ton Twp., Port-Summit, Solon, Stow-Munroe Falls, and Wadsworth have col-laborated in over $26,000 in club cash. This has been enhanced by a $5000 contribution from our neighbor district 6600 to the west and $300 from the RC of Port-au-Prince. Our District 6630 Grants Com-mittee has approved $24,200 in matching DDF.
Haiti VTT2 Moves Ahead Quickly

    I also want to point out that along with the personnel training, this VTT grant will provide almost $40,000 in new equipment for the ICU at St. Damien’s. Most of this equipment is being purchased at reduced costs through the efforts of G-of-L NEO, G-of-L-I, and ACH. These people are constantly on the lookout for American Medicines perfectly good but “out-of-date” cast offs that any country in the third world, especially Haiti, would be thrilled to have.

     Robert “Bob” Johnson Rotary District 6630 PDG 2013/2014 Rotary District 6630 VTT Coordinator
When all of the Rotary Foundation funding match-es are secured, our total VTT grant amount will be over $100,000! I am so proud beyond words of the support from so many of our district’s clubs. When I asked for support, to a club you all stepped up. All Ro-tarians from District 6630 can be proud as some of their foundation donation dollars have helped some-where. Since my days as District Governor and the beginnings of the Rotary Foundations New Grants Model in 2013 I have tried to show that partnerships and multiple donations will be the path to bigger and more high impact projects. Everyone taking part in this effort has proven that.