I have a pretty cool family. My parents were both engineers and now they are expert retirees. They are also adorable. I have two older brothers – which explains my tomboy nature. Dave is a Senior Marketing Director at EA Sports and Ian is a doctor in Calgary. I’ve labeled myself as the “wonderful surprise” and “black sheep” of my family. Everyone is super smart and all I have is this stupid charisma and devilishly good looks. What the heck.Casting Dave to the shadows (sorry, bro, next time), we’re going to hone in on my middle brother, Dr. Ian Le. He’s the “smart one” who became an orthopedic surgeon. He graduated from the University of Alberta and completed his residency in Calgary. After spending a few years in Seattle and North Carolina, Ian specialized in foot and ankle injuries.
Broken Earth is a Canadian-based volunteer organization consisting of doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists. Initially, the goal was to provide help for the people of Haiti who were affected by the devastating earthquake in 2010. Since then, multiple trips have made back to the Caribbean. Now their ultimate mission is to educate the local health care workers so they can better treat their patients.
Last year, my brother was selected to be part of Broken Earth. He and 31 other health care workers traveled to Port-au Prince, Haiti in November 2013. The team dealt with a variety of problems from gunshot wounds to tumours to old, unresolved fractures. Ian told me stories of performing operations to correct clubbed feet. But he mentioned that he could only help so many teenagers because of limited operating time. In his suitcase, Ian packed pain medication as he knew that the hospital would not have enough drugs to offer patients after surgery. He also talked about the dangers of night time in the city. One story was about a patient who was discharged by the hospital staff but his family did not come to pick him up because the dangers of driving after the sun set were too high. By the end of the week-long trip, the crew performed a total of 45 surgeries and treated an endless amount of patients.
Tonight, my brother comes home from his second trip to Haiti. This time he’s leading the team from Calgary. And I can’t wait to talk to him about it. I’m sure there will be new stories to share.
You’ll notice that there are very few pictures in this blog post. That’s because I want you to follow this link: “Love without Borders”. It connects you to a story about a woman who traveled with Ian and Broken Earth in 2013. Her husband was a surgeon who previously went to Haiti. When he suddenly passed away, she took his spot on the trip one year ago. I highly urge you to read her touching and beautifully written story. She provides an amazing outlook on Broken Earth in Haiti. In addition, the photos attached to the article are absolutely incredible (if you look just below the article title, click on the tab that says photos). After all, pictures are worth a thousand words.
You can find out more about Broken Earth on their website, www.brokenearth.ca. The health care workers that go on these trips are volunteers. This means they use vacation time and pay for their own flights and expenses for the week. Donating to Broken Earth will help fund current and future team members traveling to Haiti. You can donate to Broken Earth here.
I would love to tag along to Haiti one of these days. So my plan over the next year is to be overly nice and suck up to Ian in hopes that he will take me under his wing.
After all, that’s why anybody in health care got into this profession, right? The bottom line will always be about helping people in need.