Paul Quintavalla, District 7450's Governor-elect,
gave an moving presentation to the Club this morning on Rotaplast,
about which most of the members had litte knowledge.
Although Rotaplast began as a project of the Rotary Club of San Francisco, it became a separate non-profit corporation in 1996.
Rotaplast International, Inc. is committed to helping children and families worldwide by eliminating the burden of cleft lip and/or palate, burn scarring, and other deformities. Working with local professionals, Rotarians, and other organizations, Rotaplast sends multidisciplinary medical teams to provide free reconstructive surgery, ancillary treatment, and training for the comprehensive care of these children. Rotaplast supports education and research towards prevention of cleft lip and/or palate. Its aim is to help local professionals build sustainable models for the care of these children, improving their lives and those of their families.
Rotaplast employs the following strategies to reach this goal:
Facilitate medical missions to provide surgical intervention for children who are not able to receive treatment or who are in need of more complicated medical procedures than can be provided by local physicians.
Counsel families about ways of reducing the incidence cleft palate anomalies through diet, vitamin supplementation, and lifestyle changes.
Collaborate with local health professionals on follow-up care and on development of comprehensive cleft palate programs where feasible.
Learn about the incidence and causes of cleft lip and palate anomalies, including both genetic and environmental factors.
Educate local physicians and specialists by urging them to work with our teams to broaden their skills in treating cleft anomalies.
Foster international goodwill and fellowship by working with Rotarians as well as with health officials in host countries.
To date, Rotoplast has treated 19,136 patients in 26 countries!
Although Paul has traveled on many missions including such places as the Philippines and Venezuela, his mission to Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar
was featured in his slide presentation. Some of his slides graphically show the difference Rotaplast's volunteer doctors, nurses, Rotarians and other mission participants have had on the populations of some of the world's poorest countries where such medical procedures are often otherwise unavailable … and where children with physical deformaties are often and tragically shunned, abandoned or worse!
A mother with her son who was born with a cleft lip (the white material on the child's face is actually a form of make-up in Myranmar)
A young boy – pre and post operative
An adult before and after surgery
Each child receives a "beannie baby" and quilt before surgery which they often take with them into the operating theater to reduce their anxieties
Paul's presentation had a special significance to two of the Club's members.
Retired Dr. Augie Adrid
had traveled to the Philippines on many occasions to assist with cleft lip and/or palate and other reconstructive surgeries, often working 10-16 hour days.
Unknown to other members of the Club, Fred Edelman
shared his expereince as having been born with a cleft palate that was surgically corrected and how the results of that treatment both enhnaced his physical appearance and had an incredibly positive impact on his pyschological and emotional health as well as in developing his life-long commitment to help people in need where ever they live.
At the end of today's meeting, one member was so moved that he presented Paul with a check for Rotaplast and another has since sent him a donation check to support its incrediblly worthlwhile endevour.
Anyone interested in learning more about Rotaplast or making a donation can log onto http://rotaplast.org/.