Marys­town na­tive pitch­ing in to help make a dif­fer­ence for Haitians.

Marys­town na­tive pitch­ing in to help make a dif­fer­ence for Haitians

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANETTE DOO­LEY With files from Colin Far­rell

Marys­town na­tive Karen McCarthy has joined Team Bro­ken Earth’s mis­sion to Por­tau-Prince, Haiti – the poor­est coun­try in the west­ern hemi­sphere.

McCarthy and fel­low team mem­bers headed to Haiti May 16, where they would host the team’s third Or­thopaedic Trauma Sym­po­sium May 18-19.

McCarthy is direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and cor­po­rate af­fairs with For­tis Inc. Dur­ing her Haiti mis­sion, she is re­spon­si­ble for lo­gis­tics and ad­min­is­tra­tion which, in­volv­ing ev­ery­thing from com­mu­ni­cat­ing with physi­cians to en­sur­ing the 50-60 res­i­dents and staff physi­cians par­tic­i­pat­ing in the sym­po­sium re­ceive a cer­tifi­cate of com­ple­tion.

“My job is to make the job of the physi­cians on our team easy, so they can do what they do best for the peo­ple of Por­tau-Prince,” McCarthy said via e-mail shortly af­ter ar­riv­ing in Haiti.

Team Bro­ken Earth is a vol­un­teer group of physi­cians, nurses, and other health pro­fes­sion­als from across Canada and the U.S. com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing and im­prov­ing health care in im­pov­er­ished na­tions.

The team was ini­tially es­tab­lished to sup­port re­lief ef­forts in the af­ter­math of the 2010 earth­quake that left the peo­ple of Haiti in dire need of med­i­cal as­sis­tance.

Team Bro­ken Earth has since ex­panded into other ar­eas in­clud­ing Nicaragua, Gu­atemala, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Team mem­bers of­ten vol­un­teer their va­ca­tion time to take part in the mis­sions. McCarthy said she vol­un­teered to join Team Bro­ken Earth be­cause she’s had a sense of ad­ven­ture from the time she was a child grow­ing up in Marys­town.

In re­cent years, she said, she’s come to re­al­ize how for­tu­nate her fam­ily is. She’s never been with­out a pay cheque, she said, and has had count­less ex­pe­ri­ences, growth and suc­cesses in her ca­reer.

“My hus­band Hugo and our chil­dren, Matthew and An­nie, live in Por­tu­gal Cove now, com­plete with two mis­chievous dogs. We have ev­ery­thing we could ever want.”

While her fam­ily is do­ing well, McCarthy said both she and her hus­band have worked hard for what they have.

“It wasn’t laid in front of us. Our par­ents taught us ev­ery­thing, and gave us the foot­ing to succeed.”

For McCarthy, it’s im­por­tant to be grounded in what peo­ple in other parts of the world face daily.

“We have no idea the strug­gles, the cor­rup­tion, the star­va­tion that peo­ple face. There’s no clean wa­ter. Dis­ease is ram­pant. Lead­ers are chal­lenged to in­spire cit­i­zenry to keep go­ing, to put one foot in front of the other,” she said.

Off the beaten path

McCarthy said her “soul was kin­dled” for strug­gling na­tions when she vis­ited Nicaragua with Shall­away Youth Choir a few years ago. The group went off the beaten path, she said, and got a taste of the real Nicaragua.

“Dogs were ema­ci­ated. Elec­tric­ity sys­tems would fail daily. Kids would ap­proach us at church, wait­ing for the ce­real bars we had brought with us. We crossed over the bor­der from Nicaragua into Costa Rica by walk­ing in mud, while we worked hard to tow our suit­cases. (There was) lit­tle to no tech­nol­ogy for cus­toms pro­cess­ing. And, in many ways, none of this mat­tered be­cause, with the choir, we had an op­por­tu­nity for our kids to sing and per­form with Nicaraguan kids,” she said.

The com­mon­al­ity was in the fact that they were all chil­dren – speak­ing the voice of song.

“I re­turned home ful­filled, able to ap­pre­ci­ate what we ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery day in New­found­land and Labrador,” McCarthy said.

Over the past seven years, McCarthy has watched Team Bro­ken Earth founder Dr. An­drew Furey and his team of­fer re­lief ef­forts in Haiti. She’s proud and grate­ful to be part of the Team Bro­ken Earth sym­po­sium, which is funded through an ed­u­ca­tional grant from DePuy Syn­thes (part of John­son and John­son Med­i­cal Prod­ucts) to pro­vide knowl­edge and skills to those prac­tic­ing or­thopaedic trauma care.

“Team Bro­ken Earth, through its over 1,000 vol­un­teers across Canada and the United States, con­tin­ues to have far-reach­ing ef­fects on the lives of peo­ple in Haiti,” Furey said in a press re­lease about the sym­po­sium.

He said Team Bro­ken Earth is also grate­ful to l’Hôpi­tal Bernard Mevs/Project Medishare for fa­cil­i­tat­ing the sym­po­sium and de­liv­er­ing equip­ment in Haiti.

Paula Cald­well St-Onge, Cana­dian Am­bas­sador to Haiti, will of­fi­cially open the sym­po­sium May 18. Haitian Pres­i­dent Jovenel Moïse and Prime Min­is­ter Dr. Jack Guy La­fontant are ex­pected to ex­tend a thank-you to Team Bro­ken Earth for all it has done for the peo­ple of Haiti. A del­e­ga­tion from Canada’s Se­nate will also at­tend the sym­po­sium May 19.

“We are hum­bled by the many thanks we re­ceive for our ef­forts,” said Furey, who be­lieves Team Bro­ken Earth is all about mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the lives of the Haitian peo­ple.

And that’s why McCarthy signed up for the mis­sion.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Team Bro­ken Earth visit www. bro­ke­n­


Karen McCarthy with a group of mis­sion­ar­ies en route to a Haitian hos­pi­tal to help pro­vide med­i­cal care.

Out­side the hos­pi­tal, the harsh con­di­tions are ev­i­dent.

Karen McCarthy

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