Heather’s helping hand for Haiti

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A Northern Irish physiotherapist is heading to Haiti to assist with the rehabilitation of earthquake victims.

Heather Crawford will be joining a medical team working in conjunction with the non-denominational faith organisation OMS, which was established in Haiti in the 1950s, having sites in both Port Au Prince and Cap Haitian.

And it is in the OMS medical centre in Cap Haitian, a city of about 1 million people, where Heather will be based for the duration of her visit. She will be leaving Stewartstown around March 12, returning just after Easter.

Heather, who works in South Tyrone Hospital in Northern Ireland, has planned a number of fundraising events which will help her raise much-needed cash for the trip. And any money over and above will go towards much-needed supplies and the organisation OMS.

“I had saved up annual leave for a trip but it didn’t happen, so when I saw the disaster in Haiti, I felt it was something I could to do to help. I knew the people would be suffering from orthopaedic type injuries following the earthquake and it’s something I knew I could assist with,” she told me.

“I looked for agencies because I knew it was quite an unsafe part of the world and I asked my minister if he could help. We spent a lot of time looking at websites, trying to find agencies. At that time there wasn’t a great deal of people going out to Haiti and even the Foreign Office advised against non-essential travel,” she said.

The organisation OMS was suggested to Heather and she got in touch with representatives.

“The suffering is ongoing and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy indicates that there has been over 2000 limb amputations and this number is still growing because of failed fracture management. I’m not sure anyone is prepared for what they’ll see in Haiti,” added Heather. “But I’ve been keeping up to date with what’s happening there.”

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