Friday, June 20, 2008

Boston Pizza Fundraiser

On Monday night, Mish Adventure camp staff, family and friends enjoyed a special fundraising event at Boston Pizza in Grimsby, ON.

Several of our First Nations camp staff, helped serve the Boston Pizza guests who came out that night for dinner. This gave them the opportunity to briefly talk about the camp and encourage people to support their efforts.

Many people were interested to hear what staff would be doing this summer and were genuinely captivated with their desire to work with First Nations children on the Mishkeegogamang reserve.

Boston Pizza graciously donated a portion of the dinner sales from that evening to FTC Canada to support the First Nations camp staff. Good job staff and thank you Boston Pizza!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Nicaragua Team departs October 25

It seems that we just returned from Guatemala, and already we are beginning to plan the schedule for our next project in Nicaragua.

Dr. Tony and I will be visiting Nicaragua in July to identify the five communities that will be visited by our team in late October. This will be done in cooperation with the Feed The Children Central America director, Efrain.

The Nicaragua team is in place. About one half of the 22 people involved are new. For some, it will be their third time on the team. Our team will include 3 doctors, a dentist, dental assistant, paramedics, 2 pharmacist and several nurses, complimented by several support staff. We will be joined by a dentist from El Salvador and other local support staff and translators.

While the clinics are going on each day, we will provide an exciting program for the children.

Along with medicines and vitamins, we will be distributing food and clothing.

All this takes money, so if you want to help support this project, please go to our web site and make a donation. Contact us if you have any questions.

Keep your eye on this blog, as we will be reporting activities before and after the trip.

Ken Dick, FTC President.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sponsor a child to go to camp!

First Nations Camps for Kids

For $60.00, you can give Mishkeegogamaang (Mish) First Nations kids 3 weeks of great summer camp experiences at Mish Adventure Camp, July 13 - August 1, 2008.

Camp Activites include: Swimming lessons, music, canoeing, windsurfing, fishing derby, crafts, drama, sports, golf, BBQ's and much more!

"Last summer I saw children at Mish Adventure Camp who didn't have many reasons to be happy. First Nations children right here in Ontario lack purpose because they are impoverished. I want to help, care for, and love these children. It's the smiles on their faces that beckon us back to do camp again."

- 2007 Camp Counselor
For more information contact:
Karen Ward
First Nations Program Coordinator
1-877-382-2262 ext. 232

To make an online doation click the link below:

Please mail financial donations to:
First Nations Camp Sponsorship
FTC Canada
P.O. Box 30
Guelph, ON N1H 6J6

Monday, June 9, 2008

CCI/Canada Welcomes FTC Canada

FTC Canada was welcomed as a member of Christian Camping International/Canada (CCI/Canada) early in 2008.

FTC Canada submitted the membership to create a partnership with the Canadian and international camping community.

Christian Camping International is an international alliance of Christian Camping Associations helping one another develop effective Christ-centered camps, conference and retreat ministries. CCI operates as a non-denominational evangelical organization through national and regional associations in countries around the globe.

CCI/CANADA is one of many Christian Camping International associations in more than 30 countries. Currently, there are approximately 200 regular and 20 business members in the CCI/CANADA directory.

The welcome has already translated into support for the camps FTC will operate in Northern Ontario this summer.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Special Report from Front Lines April 2008

ONA Members Help Needy in Guatemala

ONA members have once again proven that when it comes to helping those in need, their charitable work extends well beyond their own communities.

Melanie Fallis, a clinical research coordinator at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and Anna Jewell and Charlene Dart, who work in the surgical services department at Lakeridge Health Corporation in Port Perry, were part of a contingent of Canadian doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists and paramedics who travelled to Guatemala in Central America for five days in late February 2008 to provide medical/ dental clinics to children and families – who average eight to 10 members – in desperate need of primary health care, and to distribute food, clothing and toys.

Feed the Children Canada
The trip was organized by Feed the Children (FTC) Canada, which, in partnership with Canadians, responds to the needs of children and their families in Canada and around the world by providing food, medicine, education and other essentials.

"We take our medical and dental teams to lesser developed countries because, in most cases, in the poor communities that we visit, the children and adults we treat have never seen a dentist or doctor," said FTC Canada President Ken Dick. "These services are unavailable due to the distance to a clinic and/ or the lack of funds to pay a doctor or dentist and/or to purchase medicines."

In conjunction with a local Guatemalan team of doctors, dentists, administrators and interpreters, and accompanied by members of the Guatemalan police to ensure their safety, the team treated more than 3,500 medical patients and 450 dental patients in five regions in the country.

Role of Our Members
"While in Guatemala, we worked as a team, assessing patients and delivering basic health care," said Dart, who along with Fallis and Jewell learned of the medical trip through Fallis’ brother-in-law Dr. Tony Brown, who is the medical advisor for FTC Canada. "We took blood pressures, blood sugars, listened to chests, checked ears, noses and throats, and listened to people via our translators."

"Vitamins and medications for parasites were given to everyone," pointed out Jewell, noting that a pharmacy was set up at each site.

"Poor living conditions, lack of clean water, substandard diet and a difficult life of hard labour all contributed to the medical issues we saw," which included dysentery, lice, parasites, scabies, respiratory ailments, gastritis, hypertension, diabetes, advanced tooth decay, colds, fevers, asthma, viral infections and injuries, said Fallis. She is hopeful "the local team will continue what we have started."

Giving Back
For the three nurses, who gave up precious vacation time to go – although they don’t look at it that way – it was a chance to give back to those less fortunate.

"I was looking for a new and different type of nursing experience that would contribute to the greater good and challenge me at the same time," said Fallis. "Guatemala was a compelling opportunity to help and learn."

"This was the perfect opportunity to see what most tourists wouldn’t be able to experience," added Jewell, who traveled on a FTC Canada medical trip to Honduras last year.

For Dart, Fallis and Jewell, the biggest reward was the genuine appreciation they felt from the local residents they came to help.

"Through education, encouragement, friendship and hope, I think we made a real difference in the lives of the people we met," stated Fallis.

"The Guatemalans were so thankful that we came to help them," added Dart. "The sincere ‘gracias, seƱora’ is what will take me back on another mission."

And she’s not the only one. Jewell said that she is hoping "for the privilege of participating in a medical/dental mission next year to El Salvador," while Fallis added that she would "volunteer again without hesitation."

The trip also helped the nurses appreciate what they have back home.

"I was very thankful to return home safely to a country that has a health care system like it has," remarked Jewell.

What ONA Members Can Learn
Fallis said if there’s one thing she wants other ONA members to take away from this story, it’s that these medical trips are an opportunity to invest your time and skills outside your current job.

"They serve as a reminder that the Learning never stops," she said. "There’s always a way to make a difference in the lives of others who need our help."

Reprinted with permission of the Ontario Nurses' Association
By Jennifer D. Foster

For five days in February 2008, Dr. Jack Cottrell and his Feed the Children Canada comrades gave nearly 500 children and adults something to smile about.

On a temperate afternoon in late February, 6,500 feet up in the mountains of the Saxsuy community of Guatemala City, Dr. Jack Cottrell bent over the febrile, dehydrated body of tiny three-year-old Ingrid. Travelling five miles on foot with her grandmother, Ingrid, who had never seen a dentist, was expressionless as the bright operatory light revealed 20 primary teeth completely decimated by dental caries and abscesses. After Dr. Cottrell removed two of her teeth, she was rehydrated, given antibiotics and taken to a local hospital to com­plete her treatment.

“I always wanted to give back — to help people,” says 58-year-old Jack Cottrell, who has lived and worked in Port Perry, Ont., for the past 33 years. He is co-partner of a thriving full-service clinic, which boasts eight dentists and 10 hygienists. An ODA member (and president for 1997-98) and a CDA member (and president for 2005-06), Dr. Cottrell’s impressive list of credentials includes being chair of the North American Regional Organ­ization of Dentistry, a fellow of the In­ternational College of Dentists and the Pierre Fauchard Academy and re­cipient of many honours and awards.

In Guatemala City, the boyishly handsome dentist’s dream to help the less fortunate became reality, as he, his wife Michelle, a dental assistant and the co-ordinator of the preven­tive dental program in his practice, along with the entire team from Feed the Children (FTC) Canada provided primary health and dental care for people in desperate need for one week in February.

Dr. Cottrell first became involved with FTC Canada via FTC Canada’s medical advisor, Dr. Tony Brown. Early in 2006 Dr. Brown, a family physician and anesthetist, returned from a dental mission to Honduras. Saddened that the three American dentists and three assistants could only perform extractions (they had no compressor or power source), he approached Dr. Cottrell upon his re­turn. “Jack is an extremely skilled dentist with superb technical skills and a fabulous bedside manner. And he’s probably the most energetic indi­vidual I’ve worked with, so that’s why I asked him to help out,” recalls Dr. Brown. Dr. Cottrell rose to the chal­lenge of providing free, mobile, first-class oral-health care abroad, envisioning clinics where teeth are re­paired and preventive dentistry is de rigueur. In the summer of 2007, Dr. Brown introduced Dr. Cottrell to FTC Canada president Ken Dick, and the rest is dental history.

In just five days in five different Guatemalan suburbs, Dr. Cottrell’s dental team — his wife Michelle (who monitored sterilization protocols and provided equipment maintenance), a local woman who’d assisted on previ­ous FTC Canada missions, a Spanish translator, a handful of Guatemalan dentists and a dentist from FTC El Sal­vador — treated nearly 500 children and adults. Dr. Cottrell and Michelle didn’t stop at all — even for lunch — during the long days. “Our feeling was, if you took 10 or 15 minutes, that was one less person we’d be able to see in the day,” he says. That sense of urgency was heightened daily by the armed police escort that shad­owed the team all day long, ensuring their safety and also preventing their pharmacy from being stolen by local bandits. Despite strict departure times, the team managed to squeeze in a few extra patients each day.

Patients received treatment in school classrooms that had become makeshift dental clinics, featuring state-of-the-art sterilization equip­ment, three to four portable dental chairs, dental drills and all the high-volume suction and high-powered lights critical for restorative work, bonding and extractions. The level of disease and decay they witnessed was catastrophic. “Everywhere we went we saw mouths at the end stage of dental disease. There was not one per­son who did not have something going on in their mouth,” says Dr. Cottrell.

And he attributes much of it to their diet. Soft drinks and tortilla chips — cariogenic food staples — are available at every corner store and are much cheaper than bottled water. Sugar cane, a primary export, is an­other daily foodstuff, eaten raw or made into a honey-like liquid and given to children in their bottles. Un­fortunately, many Guatemalans have never owned a toothbrush and have never been shown how to clean their teeth. “It’s not unlike what we had here in Canada and the U.S. 60 to 70 years ago,” says Dr. Cottrell. “People expected that they got to a certain point in their life, and they got all their teeth taken out — that was the norm.” But the natives “came to this clinic thinking they were having their teeth extracted, and some ended up getting restorative work, instead, which is really exciting,” says Dick.

Charity work is nothing new to Dr. Cottrell. From 1975 to 1981, he vol­unteered one or two nights per week at two different inner-city dental clin­ics in Toronto, treating immigrants, poor families, drug addicts and street people. He’s seen the effects of poverty firsthand on dental health and knows it’s a reality in any coun­try, “but when we take the neediest situation here, it doesn’t hold a can­dle to what exists in these types of countries,” says Dr. Cottrell, a father of four. “These people die from den­tal infections; they die from problems that would be unheard of to die from in our culture.” Dick concurs. “I wouldn’t think there’s an adult or child who could walk into any emer­gency department here in Canada and not be treated. Social services are here. There’s no transportation and no infrastructure in these other coun­tries. It’s pay before you get treated.” Why Central America? “It’s closer than Africa, so it’s less costly,” says Dick. “And we have Spanish transla­tors and an office with staff in Guatemala City, so that helps us with preparation.”

Dr. and Mrs. Cottrell’s first dental clinic experience with FTC Canada was so successful, they’re already booked for the next 2008 mission — Nicaragua in October. “We can hardly wait to go to Nicaragua, because we have now seen just a glimpse of the needs in these countries. We have found that we can make a huge dif­ference,” says Michelle Cottrell. And Dr. Brown is equally thrilled. “The Cottrells were very sensitive to the Guatemalans’ customs and practices. I was impressed with Dr. Cottrell’s bal­ance of sensitivity and his desire to teach new ways of doing things.”

And teaching and collaboration, says Dr. Cottrell, are the keys to all fu­ture dental missions. “My goal is to develop a comprehensive model of care — rather than a unilateral model of just extracting teeth — and teach the professionals how they can best use these preventive programs. I want to leave a legacy behind, where peo­ple learn how to look after themselves — that’s the key.”

What’s changed for Dr. Cottrell after this trip? “The need to get bigger faster,” he says. “There’s so much need, and it’s the urgency I sense now. It broke my heart to turn people away at the end of the day.” His solution is to train enough “sub-leaders” so that they can conduct myriad dental clin­ics annually, even without his pres­ence. Dr. Cottrell is also determined to introduce regular fluoride rinse programs at FTC feeding stations in all future missions.

Does Dr. Cottrell recommend other ODA members get involved? Without hesitation. “We live in a society of self-interest and self-indulgence, so it’s really an important part of our po­sition and our responsibility to give somebody a hand. The joy you get from seeing somebody appreciative, not even from the treatment, but from the fact you took the time to befriend them, warms your heart. You’re giving them hope. And that’s what it’s all about — hope for a better tomorrow.”

Reprinted with permission of the Ontario Dental Association and Ontario Dentist, 2008.