Medical Mission Brings Hope to People in Ecuador

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A recent dinner and auction raised over $50,000 from selling joints. Actual prostheses were auctioned off to the highest bidder, along with more typical auction items such as vacation rentals and winter snow removal.

Greidanus, a member of West End Christian Reformed Church, is accompanied on the annual trip by his wife, Janet, a former nurse. All six of their children have accompanied them to Ecuador at some point, leading most of them into careers in health care. They also give Greidanus lots of helping hands when needed.The funds were raised in support of Alberta orthopedic surgeon Thomas Greidanus, who has been leading about 50 health care professionals on medical missions to Cuenca, Ecuador.

Greidanus and his team lead the surgical component of Operation Esperanza, as the mission is called. Free surgeries provide hip and knee replacement for adults and repair club foot and hip dislocations in children. Dental care is also provided to a large number of children in rural schools. The trip is organized through EMAS Canada, an interdenominational charity that partners in overseas health initiatives.

The team hopes to perform 40 joint surgeries during its next trip in February 2013. Each hip or knee prosthesis costs approximately $2,000. The joints are purchased in Edmonton and transported by the team to Ecuador along with other medical supplies.

“Many lives are completely changed as we perform numerous orthopedic surgeries and give patients increased mobility and freedom from pain,” explained Greidanus. “We [also] teach at the local medical school. We have noticed that medical care in the local hospitals has improved over the years. Our team members are pleased to teach and to exchange ideas with their Ecuadorian colleagues.”

About the Author

Tracey Yan is the Banner's regional news correspondent for classes British Columbia North-west and British Columbia South-east.

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