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5K to help Tri-State Medical Missions trip to Haiti

Sep. 02, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- In Haiti, the saying goes, "Men anpil chay pa lou." In Huntington, it translates to, "Many hands lighten the load," a credo Tri-State Medical Missions took to heart.

"The first time we were in Haiti, we saw horrendous sights. Death was all around us. And, we worked 24/7 providing medical care," said Julie Brewer Riffe, a nurse practitioner/nurse midwife and director of Tri-State Medical Missions. "When we returned, we immediately thought we needed to have an organization that provides medical care to those in need in a third-world country.

"Many hands lighten the load. That's what we believe."

On Sept. 7, your feet can help those hands, by participating in the Hands For Haiti 5K run/walk at Barboursville Park. Proceeds from the 5K will benefit Tri-State Medical Missions as they prepare for their fourth trip to Haiti in late January 2014. Riffe said the organization has a goal to raise $20,000 to $25,000, which would help provide for medicine and medical supplies and offset the cost of running electricity to a generator so team members can work.

"This is our first event. We've gone to churches and requested donations, and the community has been very generous when we go on these trips," Riffe said. "People in the Tri-State have big hearts. I think many of us have come from families who've worked their way out of poverty, so we understand the need for everyone to help out."

Tri-State Medical Missions will take 32 team members and $7,000 to $10,000 worth of medication and supplies when they travel. Among the procedures they'll perform are hernia surgeries and hysterectomies.

"A lot of Haitian women have uterine fibroids, which are benign but cause them to bleed profusely, which makes them anemic and they suffer from fatigue. Once they have the surgery, it literally changes their life. They aren't losing so much blood, and they can function normally," Riffe said. "For the men, we do a lot of hernia repair. They do a lot of physical labor there, and a hernia creates pain and problems for them."

Riffe said the group always includes at least one resident and one medical student, with the goal of training them to keep the program running well into the future.

"We've been asked to come to different countries: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, but so far we've only been to Haiti because there is just such a need," she said.

The Hands for Haiti 5K features a scenic route with some rolling hills on a paved surface throughout. Registration is $20 for early entry and $25 the day of the race. To register, visit tristateracer.com. For more information about Tri-State Medical Mission or to make a donation, visit facebook.com/tristatemedicalmissions.

Follow H-D reporter Beth Hendricks on Facebook or Twitter @BethHendricksHD.



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