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DENVER, Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Team Zaryen, Port-au-Prince’s amputee soccer team, will tour the United States this fall, running soccer clinics for wounded members of the U.S. military and focusing attention on the great strides being made by those with disabilities in Haiti.

The tour will be co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and Project Medishare, who co-founded “Healing Haiti’s Children” – a program that has made prosthetics available to every child who lost a limb in last year’s earthquake in Port-au-Prince. All of the players on Team Zaryen have received prosthetics courtesy of this program. The earthquake in Haiti last year left thousands of amputees in its wake – many of them children and young adults.

The team and its U.S. tour are some of many positive results to have come from the “Healing Haiti’s Children” program. The program makes a multi-year course of prosthetic care and physical therapy available to every child who lost a limb as a result of the earthquake. Included in the rehabilitation is the “Return to Sport” program where Team Zaryen coaches children and youth in this fast-paced sport so that they too can enjoy the fun and excitement of sport and learn to lead normal lives.

The Knights of Columbus have committed more than $1 million to the “Healing Haiti’s Children” program through Project Medishare, which runs the premier hospital for amputees in Haiti.

“The Knights of Columbus is honored to be able to be able to help transform the lives of children and young people in Haiti and to bring healing and hope to some of the neediest people in our hemisphere,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “We are very happy to have the members of Team Zaryen, who have overcome so much, with us at our convention.”

“Following the earthquake, there was a tremendous outpouring of support from the people of the United States, much of it coordinated by America’s armed forces,” said Dr. Bob Gailey, director of rehabilitation services for Project Medishare. “Team Zaryen is now looking to return the favor by running clinics for wounded American service members this fall in the United States, and we are honored to be working together with the Knights of Columbus to assist these young people in Haiti and to be providing these clinics for the U.S. military.”

A key reason for forming the soccer team was to change attitudes in Haiti and to help remove the negative stigma associated with being an amputee in Haitian society. The members of Team Zaryen believe their example will prove to the youth of their nation that despite any handicap, there are no limits to what an individual, a team, or a nation can achieve.

Project Medishare 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 Miller 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 $154 million to charity and donated more than 70 million volunteer hours to charitable causes.

Representatives from Team Zaryen with Jason Miller & Dr. Bob Gailey, Director of Rehabilitation Services for Project Medishare, at the Knights of Columbus 129th annual Supreme Convention in Denver, CO.

Special thanks to Perry Ellis for outfitting Team Zaryen for the US tour!

This article can be found on the PRNewswire by clicking here!

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By Jennifer Browning

When plastic surgeon Dr. Joel Kopelman and his son Ross volunteered at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare (HBMPM) several weeks ago, one of the most noticeable things the two saw were the amount of amputees.

What impressed upon Ross Kopelman the most was how hopeful the amputee patients at HBMPM seemed.

“I was standing out in courtyard saw one amputees who was spinning around on one leg and he seemed like he was very happy,” Ross, a student at New York University said. “It was an amazing thing to see.”

Today at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare (HBMPM), certified prosthetic orthotist (CPO) Davor Krchelich uses a BioSculptor to scan the patient’s limb to determine how the socket for the prosthetic leg should be constructed. Davor said it is fantastic technology to have here in Haiti, but there is currently not a machine in Haiti to make the socket mold.

Once the BioSculpter gathers the images, the file is saved and transmitted over the internet to a machine in Florida that can read the file at the prosthetic plant where the socket for the prosthetic leg is currently made.

It takes about two to three weeks for the socket to be received at HBMPM where the patient is then measured and fitted for the new limb.

If the actual machine that custom fits the socket was on site in Haiti, Joel told The Ridgewood News, it would cut the amount of time and effort needed to go through that process. After returning home, Ross and his father couldn’t forget the devastation, serious injuries, extreme poverty and the amount of amputees, so they decided to do something.

While volunteering with Project Medishare, Ross said he noticed that even those who have their limbs struggle to live in Haiti.

“But imagine what it is like when you don’t have your arm or leg,” he said. “If we could somehow provide these prosthetic legs for them it would change their lives in a dramatic way.”

When Ross returned to the United States, he and his father began working toward a plan to raise money for the people of Haiti by working to get the NYU community involved. Ross and his father are working to raise $85,000 to purchase a carving machine for making molds of the patient’s residual limb. This piece of equipment will directly help those many amputee patients they saw firsthand.

Currently, Ross is planning a fundraiser in New York City in hopes to raise a large portion of the funds needed to purchase the carving machine. The Kopelman’s have also created an online fundraising team through Project Medishare’s website. Click here to donate toward their project that will allow HBPM’s prosthetic and rehabilitation team assist our amputees more efficiently in the future.

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Photo by Omar Vega

 

By Jennifer Browning

Project Medishare’s prosthetic technician in training, Wilfred Messine, works with people like him everyday. An amputee patient himself, when Wilfred was fitted with his prosthetic limb in April, we immediately began running and kicking a soccer ball.

Last week, encouraging others like him, he formed a small soccer team of amputee patients. Wilfred provided an inspiration of hope to those who would soon be fitted at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare with their new limb. His message: if you can do this without a leg, imagine what your possibilities are with a prosthetic leg!

Wilfred had his leg amputated shortly after the earthquake happened in January. Part of his job is not only to help with the fitting and the physical therapy, but he and Cedieu Fortillus, another prosthetic technician in training, also help these patients understand what the prosthetic means for them.

Together Cedieu and Wilfred work to change attitudes of the patients they see and show the patients the possibilities after receiving their new limb.

“Every time we want to explain something to the patient, we use Wilfred as an example,” Cedieu said. “We show them that he has a prosthetic and then we say, look what he can do!!”

Wilfred said that he loves his work at HBMPM because he is helping Project Medishare change people’s lives.

“What Medishare is doing here is helping people start their life again,” Wilfred said. “I talk to the amputee patients and let them know that one day, they can be like me. I tell them that I can walk, I can drive, and I have learned to run….there are so many things I can do with my new leg and that they will be able to do these things one day. I let them know they can have a new life. That if you are an amputee it doesn’t mean your life is over.”

If you would like to help Project Medishare continue programs like this one at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare (HBMPM) click here to donate today.

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By Jennifer Browning

She had just finished cooking dinner when the earth shook Port-au-Prince that evening in January. Manoushka Blanc along with her family ran for the door. By the time Manoushka reached the door, the walls and ceiling were already crumbling.

The doorway fell pinning her in the rubble just barely outside her house where her two sisters and four cousins were instantly killed. It was daylight before neighbors could pull her out from under the large piece of concrete crushing her right leg.

A translator helps doctors explain to Manoushka what she should expect when they fit her with a prosthetic leg. Manoushka said that knowing she will be able to walk again gives her hope.

A translator helps doctors explain to Manoushka what she should expect when they fit her with a prosthetic leg. Manoushka said that knowing she will be able to walk again gives her hope.

Her rescuers took her to the UN Hospital where Project Medishare doctors were working at the time. Although in those first 48 hours, medical supplies were limited. Doctors tried to stop the infection and save her leg—but gangrene had already taken over a good portion of her leg.

When the 24-year-old awoke from surgery she was confused about where she was and what had happened.

“It was like I was dreaming, I was still in shock from the earthquake. I didn’t realize I had lost my leg –it was only a few days after that I realized it wasn’t there,” Manoushka said. “I was in a lot of pain. I accepted it because I know the doctors saved my life.”

Before the earthquake Manoushka was a housekeeper. And while the home she where was working is gone, she still worries that without a leg she will no longer be able to do these skills.

But today, at the Project Medishare Hospital a doctor visited to educate her about the prosthetic limb they could design for her. It will take time and hours of physical therapy, but Manoushka will be able walk again.

For the first time, the she felt that there was hope.

“When I first lost my leg, I used to cry a lot,” she said, “but when they told me about this new leg, I stopped crying because I see hope for my future. I feel much better now knowing that I might be able to live a more normal life.”

Now two months after the earthquake, Project Medishare is still helping those like Manoushka who have been permanently affected by the January earthquake. Volunteer orthopedic doctors and surgeons along with physical therapists are working with our amputee patients in preparing them to receive a prosthetic limb.

If you would like to help Project Medishare continue to help those like Manoushka please click here to donate online.

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