On the eve of Halloween, ghosts and goblins were the furthest from Drs. Jeff and Ellen Kempf’s minds. Instead, they were focused on the children of Haiti.
The occasion celebrated the partnership between Akron Children’s and St. Damien, located near Port-au-Prince, and helped raise funds for its mission.
Dr. Gautier was in town to receive the Arnold P. Gold Humanism honor and to speak at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital about the St. Damien coalition, which today includes 11 U.S. children’s hospitals.
Nearly 50 guests enjoyed traditional Haitian fare, including soup Joumou, a Haitian celebratory soup made with pumpkin, and other native dishes, while participating in a silent auction.
Four bottles of fine Haitian rum that Dr. Gautier brought with her and 5 photographs taken of Haitian children at St. Damien, among other treasures were auctioned off to raise funds for St. Damien and its residency program.
Proceeds of more than $2,000 from the event will benefit the latest initiative to bring Haitian residents here to the United States (give online by typing Haiti in the “other” designation).
For the first time next summer, St. Damien will send residents stateside to train for one month at a coalition children’s hospital, including Akron Children’s.
“[The physicians] helping our residents are really contributing to something valuable,” said Dr. Gautier. “They should be proud of this. We are very grateful. It’s very beneficial to the children and families because they are vulnerable and poor.”
Through the collaboration, doctors and nurses from Akron Children’s travel to Haiti several times a year to care for children, deliver medical equipment and supplies, and train and educate St. Damien’s residents and pediatric clinicians.
“It’s good to have support,” said Dr. Gautier. “Our challenges are enormous with poverty, disease, lack of funding, energy problems, equipment failures and more. The collaboration has been wonderful, special. There’s a lot of effort to help our country and we are very grateful.”