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Three months after the Knights of Columbus announced that it would donate $1 million to Project Medishare to provide prostheses to Haitian children who lost limbs in the January 2010 earthquake, a large shipment of the prosthetic devices is being sent to Port-au-Prince this week.
Yesterday, at a news press conference at the Hialeah, Fla. facility where the prosthetic devices were being prepared for shipment, representatives of the organizations involved expressed enthusiasm for the difference that the “Hope for Haiti’s Children” program will make in the lives of the child amputees.
An estimated 1,000 children underwent amputations after suffering severe injuries in the earthquake. Project Medishare, which operates a critical care, trauma and rehabilitation hospital in Port-au-Prince and clinics in the Central Plateau, is equipped to fit prostheses and to provide physical therapy once patients have been fitted with the devices. The Knights of Columbus agreed to underwrite the cost of both the prostheses and therapy for children who needed them. The children will be supplied with up to three prostheses (as they outgrow them) and two years of physical therapy.
“Bringing the gift of mobility and independence to these children is an important investment in their lives, and through them, in Haiti’s future,” Knights of Columbus Supreme Secretary Emilio Moure said. “Knights of Columbus, for whom charity and helping neighbors in need is a fundamental commitment, is honored to be able to help make this possible.”
Dr. Barth Green, Project Medishare’s president and co-founder of Project Medishare, agreed that this gift is crucial for the thousands of children affected by the earthquake.
“We are grateful to the Knights of Columbus for joining us as a partner in providing critically needed medical care and rehabilitation to the people of Haiti,” Dr. Green said. “Their contribution is very generous, and enables us to meet the needs of Haiti’s child amputees in a rapid, skillful and effective manner.”
Also participating in the news conference was Dr. Robert Gailey, Associate Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Physical Therapy, and Adam Finnieston, Chief Prosthetics Officer at Extreme Prosthetics, producer of the prosthetic devices.
Project Medshare for Haiti was founded in 1994 by Drs. Barth Green and Arthur Fournier when they assembled the first team of faculty from the University of Miami School of Medicine and Nursing to assess the health status of Haitians and explore ways of rebuilding their healthcare infrastructure in a long term and meaningful way.
The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest lay Catholic organization, with more than 1.8 million members around the world. Last year they donated more than $151 million to charity and donated more than 69 million volunteer hours to charitable causes.
Click here to see NBC Miami’s video about Project Medishare’s partnership with the Knights of Columbus.