Looking Back on 2010

  Forward in Health Newsletter, January 2011
 2010: A Year In Review
 
It is only fitting that the first newsletter for 2011 from Forward In Health is presented to its supporters on the anniversary week of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. Although it may seem longer, it has only been one year since the spotlight of the world illuminated the shocking poverty and appalling conditions in Haiti. Anyone associated with Forward In Health over the years have known, and many of you have seen first hand the effects and the conditions of the poverty in Haiti. Even with this knowledge no one could have imagined the death and destruction that the Haiti Earthquake of 2010 would cause. Universally those traveling with Forward In Health would comment that conditions in Haiti could not get any worse. How wrong we all were!

 
               
Hearing the plea of our directors on the ground in Haiti, “Come Now! Forward In Health, along with the entire community showed what can be accomplished with a little luck, faith and the sheer determination of everyone working together. It only took one week for the first medical team from FIH to land in Haiti even though they had to land on a country road which replaced the airport landing strip in
Port Au Prince. Of particular note is the fact that FIH was on the ground working in Haiti one day before the U.S. Marines arrived. The team consisted of nurses, physicians, an EMT, and a lawyer who ran the pharmacy. The entire team volunteered, within days of the earthquake, to leave their families and jobs to respond to what has proven to be the worst natural disaster in our lifetime and to aid the Haitian people. Within four weeks of the earthquake a second disaster medical team made it’s way to Haiti. A third team, comprised of medical and surgical professionals, traveled to Haiti in April 2010. This team and its trip was notable making it the first time that members of an FIH team worked at the Immaculate Conception Hospital in Les Cayes, Haiti, performing surgeries late into the evenings in orthopedics, obstetrics and an unexpected case in urology. A special follow-up 3 day trip in July 2010, on behalf of FIH, saw orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Fabian and family practitioner Dr. John Harrington traveling to Haiti. The sole purpose of their trip was to revise a fractured leg of Andre, a father of twin boys. Andre was injured in the earthquake, his leg was set as well as possible but when x-rays could be obtained the fractured bones were not together and he could not walk. We are proud to say that as a result of the surgical revision, Andre is now walking.
                 
With news of the 2010 earthquake publicized through every medium imaginable, many family and friends but most notably acquaintances and strangers all made their way to the FIH home base with their donations both large and small. An incredible outpouring of donations of money, food and medical supplies were delivered by the smallest of donors, Dr. John Mulqueen’s patients, to the adults in the surrounding region, all just expressing a desire to do something to help. The donations quickly overwhelmed the FIH home base making it necessary to find additional storage areas both at the conference rooms at Heywood Hospital in Gardner, and an entire bay at the South Gardner Fire Station.
Money from donation were hand delivered to our directors in Grande Goave, Haiti to help them rebuild their orphanage, the Mission of Hope.

 Forward In Health was scheduled to begin construction of the first 1/3 of a permanent health clinic in Fondefred, Haiti the week following the earthquake. Although construction on the project has had several false starts since the earthquake, this past year has demonstrated the continued determination and fortitude of all the volunteers that make up the Forward In Health organization. As a result of the disaster teams travels to Haiti, it was decided to add an operating room suite to the original clinic plans. FIH architect Paul Fallon has designed the addition to the original clinic.

 In July of this past year, FIH was honored to escort members of the Gengel family to Haiti for their first trip as they began their healing process after losing their daughter Brittany in the earthquake.

 As a result of our growth and the increased demands of running the organization, FIH has created it’s first Executive Director position in the United States. Michael Metzmaker was appointed to the position in September 2010.

 The Board of Directors of FIH has authorized a feasibility study for a 2 year 3 million dollar campaign to begin in 2011. The FIH Board has obtained the services of Peter Dubay of Fund Raising Advisors of Cape Cod to conduct the study.

 Forward In Health is please to announce the first offshoot of its organization, Forward In Hope. FIH members discovered an orphanage near the FIH land in Fondefred, Haiti. This orphanage was made up of 30 boys who had been left without a sponsor, a place to live or sources of food. Although we were not intending to open an orphanage, we were unable to look the other way when the need presented itself. FIH members, Debbie Orre and Sarah Fabian have taken on the orphanage, forming “Forward In Hope” and have initiated plans to build an orphanage on the FIH land next to the clinic.

Structural engineers from Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger have traveled to Haiti and consulted free of charge on the proposed FIH Clinic and orphanage. Construction changes were recommended and adopted by FIH regarding the construction of the clinic which will make it as earthquake resistant as is possible.

FIH had been contacted by Hal Seifert of Lopez Island, Washington with the desire to oversee and help with our construction project in Haiti. He spent an initial two months in Haiti and will be returning to Haiti in February.

FIH has begun collaborating with other organizations working in Haiti including Partners in Health, sharing their vast experience with construction in Haiti and also Spirit of Hope which has funded both the expenses of the physicians who traveled to Haiti in July and Hal Seifert’s expenses.

It would be an understatement to say that 2010 was an eventful year for Haiti and Forward In Health. We are convinced that the best is yet to come and the clinic will be open servicing patients in 2011. Haiti has always been a country of challenges, none more so that 2010. As we have said continually as we worked toward our goal, “If it was easy everyone would do it.”
The Birth of “Forward In Hope”
 A recent visit to Haiti brought a group of young boys to the attention of Paula and John Mulqueen.  These children were found in a warehouse in Les Cayes on the verge of being evicted and in need of a place to stay.  The Mulqueens were instrumental in finding temporary housing for the boys and as a result “Forward In Hope” was born. 
  
 
Sarah Fabian and Debbie Orre took on the daunting task of getting the orphanage up and running, sharing the same site as the Forward In Health Clinic project. They recently returned from a visit to Haiti this past November where they met the boys and gathered first hand knowledge of their current living situation. 
Much has happened since Sarah and Debbie’s initial visit last November. Building plans are being developed with the architect and many fundraising efforts have already been scheduled. Sponsors have come forward interested in not only providing the children with musical instruments but also to develop a music program for the school they hope to build as part of the orphanage.  It is their hope that the music program will be taught by college music interns and culminate with a program performed for the entire community.

Pictures of their trip and information on each of the boys is available on the Forward In Hope Facebook page. Just click here: Forward In Hope

 Forward In Health Student Group
As many of you who are local know, there is a student organization affiliated with Forward in Health called Forward In Health Student Group (formally known as Project Haiti).  This group is made up of high school students at Gardner High School who are committed to a variety of fundraising events throughout the school year,with all the proceeds benefiting Forward In Health and the people of Haiti. Many of the students over the past few years have had the opportunitey to travel with Forward In Health to Haiti on their student trips during school vacation, an experience they all say is “life changing.” 
2010 and the devestation caused by the earthquake in Haiti proved to be an exceptional time for this group of approximately 50 students and their two advisors, John Gardella and Cindy Taddeo, both members of the teaching staff at GHS. This group was able to rally the school community, involving not only the high school but the middle and elementary schools, as well as the community at large collecting supplies, donations and helping to pack the teams for their trips.  When the tally was finally in, Forward In Health Student Group was responsible for approximately $13,000.00 in donations between their regular fundraising contributions for the year and the additional donations received when the earthquake struck that could be directly attributed to them. 
Now almost halfway through the 2010-11 school year, this years group of approximately 50 students is continuing the Forward In Health Student Group tradition of fundraising to help establish the medical clinic for the people of Haiti. The next fundraising event for the FIH Student Group is the “Teacher Talent Show” scheduled to take place on Thursday February 10, 2010 at the Gardner High School auditorium.  We invite everyone to come and enjoy the show while supporting a great cause! Hope to see you there.
To check on the FIH Student Group upcoming events click here:http://www.forwardinhealthsg.org  
  
Stay up to date on the efforts of Forward in Health by connecting to the Forward in Health Facebook page. 

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