Over the next two weeks, we will be sharing stories about our team members and their experiences on the trip. Stay tuned for greetings from each of our team members.
To start, below is the message from Dr. Rai to the team this morning:
Hello everyone, this is Dr. Rai and I am honoured to be your leader for India 2015. I’ve been on about 27 missions, starting with the US ORC team at Villahermosa in Mexico in the 1990’s. I have a surgical practice in New West and also work at False Creek Surgery Centre in Vancouver. A chance to train at UBC brought me from my native Malaysia to Vancouver and subsequently, I’ve worked at Royal Columbian Hospital and Eagle Ridge Hospital.
I am fortunate to have so many supporters from my patients, family and friends. Just want to acknowledge a few long- time supporters, Mr. Thomas Tait of Coquitlam College, who has been so kind and generous over many, many years. And also Dave and Rani Mann of Mannkind Charities, who are also my unwavering supporters. Recently I had the pleasure of attending their Fireflies in the Night charity event and I am so thankful to them for not only donating the proceeds to ORC, but to really help us raise awareness of the need for cleft lip and palate surgery in the developing world to their friends.
Aside from ORC missions, one of my most memorable trip was last year’s mission organized by the Canadian Ukraine Foundation. 4 ORC members and I joined that team to perform surgeries on wounded soldiers. It was a great experience and worthwhile work. In addition, I was so proud that our member’s field skills were in such high demand.
At the same time, it also made me realize that to help children is still my greatest passion. Time is so precious and I have to choose where I can make the most impact. Elaine and Dolly were with me on that trip and I am just overjoyed that they have both decided to take on a greater leadership role at ORC. India is dear to many of our member’s hearts, both as a place of ancestral origin and because it is a fascinating country. As many of you know, Canada is my chosen country and the reason that I founded ORC was because I felt strongly that Canadians can make a difference. As always, I wish for the team to extend Canadian goodwill to everyone that we meet.
As a small, hands-on organization, we will have half our board on this trip: myself, Doreen (Mission Coordinator), Dr. Naz Bhanji and Rakesh Patel, our Treasurer.
We have assembled an outstanding mission team, with a great mixture of veteran and new members. I have every confidence that we will do excellent work on this trip. My wish is for the team to ‘gel’ and build wonderful connections. I thank them for giving their time and their skills to ORC. Having these dedicated professionals is how ORC has been able to maintain the 100% volunteer spirit for 18 years.
This mission is a special one for ORC as it has been a while since we’ve been to India and the first time we are going to be in Gujarat. I’m hopeful that it will be start of a continuing partnership with Kaka-ba Hospital, and together, we can help alleviate some of the suffering of the children in that area.
I’m pleased to welcome back Dr. Patrick Chan from Australia, who is a Plastics Resident. Furthermore, I’m so happy that we are continuing to provide ‘on the job’ learning opportunities. We have another Plastic Resident sponsored by the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Julie Kvann from Montreal. Dr. Ukani, Dr. Chitte and I will be sharing our skills with them.
On the Pediatrics side, we will have a Pediatric Residents, Dr. Stephany Quinn from BC Children’s Hospital and Dr. Jolene Low from Toronto, a Family and Emergency Care Resident, who will work under the direction of Dr. Bhanji.
For Anesthesia, we have Dr. Carolyne Montgomery, who will lead quite a large team. In addition to our Anesthesia Fellow from the BC Children’s Hospital, Dr. Liz Allison, we have the pleasure of welcoming three Anesthetists from India to our team, Dr. Gayatri Sasikumar, Dr. Lokesh Kashyap, Dr. Preet Rajpul and one Anesthetic Resident, Dr. Anuradha Borle. Some of them have worked with ORC or BC Children’s Hospital in the past and this is a great opportunity for us to exchange ideas and practices. Most of all, I am looking forward to working with our host, Dr. Bharathai Champenaria, who have been most helpful to ORC through our planning process.
On the home front, I have the most patient wife, Linda, who help me found ORC. She, my kids and grand kids, have been super supportive of my work over the many years. I promise that I will be home safely in time for the ski season with my family. I know that your families are all very proud of the work you do and time you will give. I’m sure that we will all have great stories to share when we return home.