Astha, a baby girl in Nepal, fell from her mother's lap into a fire during a traditional ceremony when she was two months old, sustaining severe burns to her face and right hand.
Astha was unable to get the immediate treatment that she needed, and as her injury began to heal, scars formed over her face to the point that her mouth was sealed almost completely closed. She was only able to eat through a small eyedropper and was unable to suck. Shortly before members of a ReSurge team arrived, Astha's mother brought her to the hospital where our Surgical Outreach Program operates year-round.
While at the hospital, Dr. Nancy Chee, an occupational therapist and long-time ReSurge volunteer, and Mohan Dangol, a hand therapist working with our Surgical Outreach Program in Kathmandu whom Dr. Chee has trained for many years, were able to fashion a small plastic splint that could be hooked onto the corners of Astha's mouth. Using a rubber band extended behind her head, her mouth was stretched open to just over 0.5 cm. They changed and adjusted the splint regularly, and within days, her mouth opened to almost 1.5 cm and she was able to suck.
In sharing the story, Dr. Chee reflected proudly on how ReSurge's training had equipped Mohan to help Astha and many other patients. She said Astha's mother was ecstatic with her daughter's progress and hoped that with her mother's persistence and dedication, Astha would survive and thrive.
While Astha's story is tragic, unfortunately severe burns like hers are not uncommon. More than 55 percent of the surgical procedures ReSurge provided last year were for burns. In all, last year we provided surgery and other vital medical care to nearly 3,000 children and adults in developing countries around the world. We also provided education and training to more than 600 local doctors and other medical professionals like Mohan.
We are proud of this accomplishment and know that none of it would have been possible without the generous support we receive from our dedicated donors. In the coming year, we will increase our goals to be able to provide more than 5,500 surgeries, but we cannot do it alone. We will only be able to reach and surpass this goal with your support.
Consider the following ways you can help:
$1,000 can enable one volunteer doctor or nurse to travel to a developing country to perform surgeries and educate his or her local counterpart;
$500 can provide nutritional supplements for 40 children so they can become healthy enough to undergo surgery;
$350 can help cover hospital costs and anesthesiology for one patient undergoing burn treatment in Nepal;
$100 can support developing economies by enabling in-country purchase of materials and use of local hospital space for four patients undergoing reconstructive surgery;
$30 can help send one burn patient to a physical therapy camp in Nepal.