Chiropractor helps out in Haiti
By Maria DiDanieli
Jan. 17, Oakville, ON – Angela Blackburn,
writer for the Oakville Beaver in Ontario,
reports that Oakville chiropractor Cheryl van
der Mark and her family are alive in the wake of last Tuesday’s massive
earthquake that measured 7.0 on the Richter Scale and was centered just
southwest of Port-au-Prince,
“And”, writes Blackburn on January 15, “they are working hard to treat
the sick and injured.”
Blackburn goes on to quote Marilyn
Waterman, one of three administrators for Missouri-based Mission of Hope Haiti, “Neither Cheryl nor Laurens (her husband)
has laid their head down on a pillow since (the quake).”
About Dr. Cheryl van der Mark and her family
Cheryl hails from Carlisle, Ontario.
She first became involved in Haiti
after a holiday in the Dominican
Republic. Dr. van der Mark spent time
volunteering at Haiti’s Hospital of Hope,
a part-time clinic offering medical services to one of Haiti’s poorest
regions and then moved there for a two-year term.
Since September 2008, van
der Mark and her family have been in Haiti,
helping out full-time to build the Mission
hospital into a full hospital that offers chiropractic, medical treatment and
eventually dentistry. Dr. van der Mark is
the medical director and her husband is overseeing construction work.
Dr. van der Mark is the
director of North Ridge Family Chiropractic in Oakville. She has been working in Haiti
for the last 18 months with Mission of
Hope Haiti and is currently there with Laurens, an officer with the OPP and
their three children.
Haitian twins, Loudemina
and Loudiana – approximately six years old – are also living with the family
and are in the process of being adopted by the van der Marks.
The van der Marks are due
to come home in September 2010.
On Monday, December 21,
Cheryl and Laurens wrote the following in their blog:
“There are two ways you
can look at life. One with despair and death: One with hope and a future.
Today, I choose the latter of the two ways to look at life. I can let it beat
me down, or I can learn and grow from it. I choose to learn and grow.”
On that day, Blackburn reports, they were handed the dead body of a two-year-old
child, bloated from severe anemia and malnutrition. The child had been brought
into the clinic too late by her mother.
But, despite the difficult conditions, and the terrible challenges the van der Marks had already faced on a daily basis, on the day of the earthquake, they and their children, who escaped serious injury, immediately turned to
help those around them in need.
The Mission of Hope, Haiti
Blackburn reports, “The Mission’s
buildings are located on its 70-acre compound about 30 kilometres outside of Port-au-Prince where the
quake’s epicenter was located. While it
takes a couple of hours to get from Port-au-Prince
to the Mission,
it would only take 20 minutes if roads were good.”
Dr. Julie Maduri, who is
working at van der Mark’s clinic in Oakville in
her absence, has been told that the Mission’s buildings,
mostly constructed of cinderblock, were damaged, but not destroyed. There are
cracks and damage and it’s uncertain if they are safe to move back into, so
everyone is sleeping outside.
Maduri said that the van
der Mark family, and those with them, have reported through emails and Facebook
that nights are cold in Haiti
and aftershocks leave the orphans and others in terror.
“It’s estimated that more
than 30 aftershock tremors, some nearing five on the Richter Scale, have
continued,” Dr. Maduri told the Oakville Beaver.
The van der Marks do not sleep much, as the Mission’s clinic is operational and is
being used to treat many arriving in search of aid.
“At one point last Wednesday we had to shut it
(the clinic) down because we ran out of supplies,” said Waterman.
A medical team that
included Laurens and Grant – an Ontario paramedic
– ventured into Port-au-Prince Wednesday with an
injured person too serious for the Mission
hospital to help. They later reported in an e-mail to Waterman that they were
turned away at three hospitals before they received assistance.
The team also reported
that, by its estimate, only 10 per cent of what was Port-au-Prince is left — all government
buildings, banks and homes are gone.
The Mission, which employs approximately 150
Haitian staff, is still awaiting news about the vast majority of its local
staffers, said Waterman.
How can you help?
The Oakville Beaver
reports that: “While North Ridge Family Chiropractic has raised funds for Haiti
in the past — for two surgeries for children and the hospital itself — it is
now simply directing those who may want to help, to the Mission of Hope Haiti
website at www.missionofhope.org
. Dr. Maduri suggests donating in the ‘Where most needed’ category.”
Source, The Oakville Beaver, Jan. 15, 2010