Dr. Brooke puts smiles on young faces in Peru
A Calgary orthodontist has returned from a volunteer aid mission to help impoverished children in Lima, Peru.
Dr. Kelly Brooke and a team of about 25 people, including pediatric dentists, hygienists and support crew, travelled to South America with Kindness in Action, an Edmonton-based charity that works in developing countries around the world. The organization helps about 350 patients each trip.
The volunteers did examinations, restorations, extractions, cleaning and other work free of charge in some of the poorest areas of the city.
“It was just heartbreaking to see little children living in such destitution,” says Brooke, who flew back to Calgary on Wednesday after a week in Lima. His return trip was delayed after a deadly weekend earthquake in neighbouring Ecuador.
“These children quite literally have nothing,” says Brooke. “Our team was gratified to literally put smiles on the faces of these needy kids and their families.”
This was Brooke’s seventh dental mission and second visit to Peru. Armed with a suitcase full of donated Croc-style shoes and flipflops, he was joined on the trip by his father.
Keith Brooke took with him 500 balloons that he used to make animals to entertain children waiting for care or those curious about the foreign visitors.
Brooke and his father also participated in a Kindness in Action brigade that went to Haiti in January. The organization is scheduled to run other dental missions in countries including Belize, Guatemala, Ethiopia, the Philippines and Tibet.
“It’s so important for me to give back however I can,” says Brooke. “I have three children and being a role model to them truly means the world to me. Hopefully, this will inspire them to help people who are less fortunate when they grow up.”
Brooke has also taken part in charitable endeavours at home. In December, he raised more than $7,000 by shaving his head for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation in Alberta.