Our volunteers make a difference inthe lives of people who have nothing.
Ines Allen and the Birth of IMA• Poor people don’t have proper access to healthcare services. And when they don’t receive the medical attention they need, they suffer the consequences.• Ines Allen knows what this is like. She grew up in a poor family in Ecuador and lost her brother to an undiagnosed heart problem at the age of 16.• Her family was so devastated by her brother’s death that they immigrated to the United States to begin a new life with new opportunities.• But Ines never forgot her brother’s death or how poverty prevents people from getting the healthcare services they need. She vowed to do something about it. She founded Rancho Mirage, Calif.-based IMAHelps).
IMAHelps• Since Ines founded IMAHelps in 2000, the group has organized medical humanitarian missions to some of the most impoverished areas of Ecuador and Nicaragua, Haiti and Tibet and provided a wide range of medical services to nearly 100,000 people.• People travel by foot, by bus and on the backs of pickups and flatbed trucks to see our volunteers for a chance to receive medical care they could never afford.
IMAHelps• While the specific makeup of each medical mission varies, our teams typically include pharmacists, pediatricians, general internal medicine doctors, OBGYNs, dentists, eye doctors, prosthetists, neurologists, urologists, general surgeons, cardiologists, orthopedic surgeons, plastic and maxillofacial surgeons, anesthesiologists, scrub techs, nurses and translators.• Perhaps best of all, IMAHelps volunteers not only provide critical healthcare services to people who cannot afford such care, but they often perform surgeries that change people’s lives.
Nataly BenavidezNataly Benavidez was only 6 years old when fireworks exploded in her home in Ecuador and burned nearly half of her body, horribly scaring her arms, stomach and legs. The accident was so devastating to Nataly’s self esteem that she became a depressed and reclusive child who never left her home.
Nataly Benavidez• But IMAHelps volunteers changed Nataly’s outlook on life and gave her new hope for the future by performing a series of skin graft operations that have restored her movement so that she can play like a normal kid again.
Darwin BolañosDarwin Bolaños was a 35-year-old chauffeur in Ecuador when helost both of his legs from the knee down in a traffic accident thatdevastated his family, particularly his 10-year-old daughter andsix-year-old son.“To see him go from being very healthy and fine one day tomissing both legs the next was very hard,” said Anita Tello,Darwin’s wife. “It was very hard on our children, too. At first, theywere just happy to see him alive. But after that, it was very hard onthem. I had problems with my son in particular. It was very hard forhim to accept the fact that he may not be able to play soccer andother games with his dad like the other kids could do with theirdads.”
Darwin BolañosBut IMAHelps volunteers fitted Bolaños with two new prosthetic legsthatenabled him to walk on his own again without crutches. Bolaños,through tears, said the new legs would enable him to go back to workand also help his wife around the house. He also plans to play ball withhis children once again.
Santos de Cruz Meza• For 67 years, Santos de Cruz Meza was the neighborhood pariah. Born with a cleft lip in a poor village in Nicaragua, her deformity worsened with age, twisting her nose while the top of her mouth produced a frightening jumble of rotting, unusable teeth. “She wouldn’t dare go outside without a towel wrapped around her face,” said Guadalupe Gonzalez Cruz, her 22-year-old daughter. “Everyone made fun of her.”
Santos de Cruz Meza• Moved by her suffering, IMAHelps volunteers removed Cruz’s teeth and shaved her maxilla so that she could be fitted with dentures. Then they sewed her cleft lip shut, closing the fissure that had subjected her to nearly seven decades or torment and ridicule. “The first thing I’m going to do when I get home,” Santos de Cruz Meza said after surgery, “is take a walk down the street, just like everybody else.”
Tania Regalado Sanchez• When Tania Regalado Sanchez was born in Quito, Ecuador, the deformities in her partially undeveloped face were so severe that her father abandoned her and her mother.
Tania Regalado Sanchez• But IMAHelps volunteers gave little Tania hope for brighterfuture by flying her to the U.S. and providing this brave 9-year-old girl with a series of reconstructive surgeries that changed her life.
Tania Regalado Sanchez• To top it off, before she went into surgery, IMAHelps volunteers outfitted Tania with new clothes and took her Disneyland.
The Impact on IMAHelps Volunteers• Volunteering on IMAHelps medical missions enriches the lives of the volunteers in ways they could never imagine.• “When you do Third World medicine, it’s the purest medicine – medicine for people who have no hope. And for me, the spiritual reward for doing this kind of work is immeasurable.” --Dr. Christopher Tiner, a plastic and maxillofacial surgeon with practices in Pasadena and Beverly Hills, Calif.
The Impact on IMAHelps Volunteers• IMAHelps volunteer Betty Gray, left, with 6-year- old Aysel Galeano and her mom after Aysel had a club foot operation in Nicaragua that would enable her to walk normally for the first time in her life. “I just love being able to help people who can’t help themselves. They don’t have the money. They don’t have the resources. (But) we can come in and do work that is life changing.”-- Betty Gray, RN, Loma Linda University Medical Center
The Impact on IMAHelps Volunteers Panna Jarussi (right), an RN with Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage, shows a nursing student from Mount St. Marys College (Megan Soqui) how to check an IV during a recent IMAHelps mission in Nicaragua.“It’s been an eye-opening experience. I think all nursesneed a humbling, life-changing experience to put asidetheir ethnocentricities and do what’s right for mankind.”-- Panna Jarussi, RN, Alaska Regional Hospital,
IMAHelps Mission PeruIMA’s next 10-day medical mission will take place August 9ththrough August 18th , 2013 in Peru.For more information on how can support IMAHelps, pleasedonate on our secure website: https://www.IMAHelps.orgor by mail: IMA PO Box 2727 Rancho Mirage, CA 92270 IMAHelps is a 501 (c)(3) Non-Profit Public Charity EIN # 83-0349334