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Nurse packs for volunteer mission

St. Albert Community Foundation provides financial support

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 06:00 am

HELPING HANDS  – Recovery room nurse Lynne Korobanik does volunteer work with the Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad. The group sends dozens of medical professionals every year to offer surgical help to people with arthritic joints, hip problems and club feet in Quito, Ecuador.
HELPING HANDS – Recovery room nurse Lynne Korobanik does volunteer work with the Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad. The group sends dozens of medical professionals every year to offer surgical help to people with arthritic joints, hip problems and club feet in Quito, Ecuador.
Supplied photo

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New series

The Gazette continues a new series on the St. Albert Community Foundation and the grants it provides to agencies and programs in the city. Stories in the series will appear each week for six weeks.
Previous stories in the series can be found at www.stalbertgazette.com.

Lynne Korobanik should get used to the swings of weather that we’ve been having lately. In a few weeks, she’s going to be heading 53 degrees latitude south, all the way to the equator where the temperatures will certainly be more moderate.

“It’s not as warm as people think,” she said, trying to make a convincing argument that the high-altitude city of Quito, Ecuador is comparable in climate to St. Albert. “It’s only going to be about plus 15.”

The argument fell flat on Tuesday when the area was plunged into a deep freeze with a wind chill warning. Korobanik preferred to focus on the purpose of her upcoming trip, one that she will take for the second year in a row. She is a recovery room nurse who works with the Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad, also called CAMTA.

The organization started in the year 2000 as a way for Canadian medical professionals to offer their life-changing services to people in Ecuador, a country that struggles with health care for adults with arthritis in their knees and hips, plus the children who have club feet and dislocated hips.

Last year, Korobanik was one of 89 team members who went on a 10-day mission and helped more than 60 people including two dozen children. All of their services and all of the medical supplies – including equipment – are donated.

“It was really good,” she recalled, adding that she was told that many of the indigenous people of the area have these issues but it’s unclear to her why, whether it’s nutrition, heritage or other factors.

“Some hip problems … could be from the way they carry kids. I don’t know if that’s the case.”

In order to be eligible for the trip, each person must raise at least $2,600 to cover all of those costs, including their flights and accommodations. At a ceremony the week before Christmas, Korobanik was given a grant of $500 from the Jamison Family Fund of the St. Albert Community Foundation. That amount helped her to cover the rest of the pledges she needed to acquire.

“CAMTA delegates the money that is all brought in. They have a lot of expenses. They ship containers down and just the hospital use and all of the equipment that gets brought down. How they pay for all that is from our fundraising money.”

That’s one less thing for her to worry about. She said that there’s a lot less stress than her first time last year because now she knows what she’s getting into.

“Last year I was totally new. People tell you things but you experience them … it’s always an adventure. It’s still going to be exciting with all new patients. I hope that some of the patients that we helped last year are going to come back so that we have an idea if we helped them.”

The website at www.camta.com shows many pictures and stories of the people who have been helped by the various teams that have gone to South America over the years.

The first team of Mission 2013 leaves on Friday, Feb. 15 for Quito and the second team picks up the baton as the first is on its way back. There will be approximately 100 health care professionals in total working at the Hospital Un Canto a la Vida, operated by the Fundación Tierra Nueva, a non-profit group that also offers recovery programs and other services to those fighting addictions.


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