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November 20, 2013
I have gone on 2 missions with Blanca’s House, in 2011 and 2012. The trips were about 6 days long, and the amount of surgical and medical care provided to the undeserved population was tremendous. The group is extremely well organized, making for very efficient use of time and resources. I’m a surgeon, and in a few short days, we provided approximately 20 gallbladder surgeries and 30 hernia surgeries for each trip. Additionally, plastic/reconstructive surgery, colonoscopy and endoscopy, and gynecologic surgery was performed. The patients that we helped have truly no resources or access to medical care, and the appreciative smiles make it all worthwhile. The group is a pleasure to travel with and they are like a family. I am planning to going on many more trips with Blanca’s House, and you can be assured that every dollar donated goes directly to getting health care to patients!
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Blanca’s House donated a significant amount of supplies to our friends in the Philippines… Our friend Alex, who manages our technology system, has family there. He is leaving Friday for 2 weeks to deliver our donated goods (clothing, shoes, gloves, gauze, ambu bags, gowns, masks, sanitary wipes, bowls, OR equipment & antibiotics). These items will be taken directly to those in need.
Please continue to pray for the people of the PHILIPPINES!
A huge THANK YOU to the Smithtown Bulls Softball Team. They sponsored a food drive to assist needy families on Long Island for the holidays. They raised $150.00 in cash donations and more than $200.00 in grocery donations to be distributed to the families on Thanksgiving day.
Blanca’s House will be sponsoring its 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Dinner for our Long Island Community.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Please help us make the holidays special for for families close to home. Blanca’s House is requesting monetary donations to help fund this year’s event. We are fortunate to have religion classes and a softball team volunteer to organize a food pantry and coat drive for that day. Please spread the word about the free dinner to anyone you know who may would not have a Thanksgiving meal. We have volunteers willing to transport families if they cannot get there that day.
Please contact Julio at JVillamar@blancashouse.com or Lori at Lkneessy@blancashouse.com for information.
Blanca’s House is also requesting donations of gently used men’s, women’s and children’s coats of any size, as well as non perishable food items for the Thanksgiving Day event. All items can be dropped off at our Lock Up Storage Center, 380 Mark Tree Rd, East Setauket, NY 11733“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Thank you to all who came out last night to support our annual Halloween Fundraiser. Over 200 people attended! It was a huge success and we could not have done it without some very special people… Thank you to Dr. & Mrs. Mitch Saunders for the beautiful decorations as always, to Lori Kneessy for making our Chinese auction baskets so beautiful, to the Pagano’s, Sue Selg, and Deb Saunders for ticket sales and to ALL our volunteer staff last night for making our night such a success! The 50/50 raised over $14,000….a new record!! All monies raised will go towards building our new Operating Rooms at the clinic in Guayaquil.
Thank you to all the supporters who have generously given to our Operating Room Fundraiser.
Copper Patrons $25.00 – $249.00
|LI Anesthesiologists, LLC||Janet Stevens|
|Janet Stevens||Zach Burbano|
|Cara and Shawn Hayes||Zach and Ashlyn Burbano|
|Nicola and Catherine Sinisi||Zach and Ashlyn Burbano|
|Wallace and Kuriansky Family||Florence Feld|
|Mr & Mrs George Buntic||Florence Feld|
|Mr. & Mrs Elmer Minthorn||Florence Feld|
|Mrs Irma Riviera||Florence Feld|
|Jolie Powel Realty|
|David Shobin, MD|
|Mr. & Mrs. Richard Smith|
|Mr. & Mrs. James Campbell|
|Dr. & Mrs. Gary Bernstein|
|William Morrison, DVM/Colony Animal Clinic|
|Peter & Alicia D’Amato|
|Mr.& Mrs. William McDevitt|
|Dr & Mrs Kneneth Kneessy||Galo Burbano|
|Mr. & Mrs. Philip O’Hara||Galo Burbano|
|Mr. & Mrs. Stewart Rand||Galo Burbano|
|Mr.& Mrs. Paul Engelbert||Galo Burbano|
|Mr Andrew Niebuhr||Galo Burbano|
|Mr. & Mrs Victor Holguin||Galo Burbano|
|Ms Chazly Hernandez & Joshua Rosado||Galo Burbano|
|Mr. & Mrs. Lenny Goldberg||Galo Burbano|
|Mr. & Mrs. Steve Barnett||Galo Burbano|
|Mr. & Mrs. Rich Smith||Galo Burbano|
|Margaret Gildae||Galo Burbano|
|James Bell||Galo Burbano|
|Julio Villamar||Galo Burbano|
|Evan Miller & Elena||Galo Burbano|
|Mr & Mrs Russell Zingale||Lisa & Jackie Karras|
|Horor Group NYC|
|Mr & Mrs Andres Romay|
|Lucy Chavez- Aerolucy Travel|
|Lynn O’Hara||Steve Gruendling|
|John Colella||Steve Gruendling|
|Peter Versoza||Maryellen Benito|
|Teresa Norton||Linda Barnum|
|Harbor Lights Yoga|
|Elysa R. Rose-Coster|
|Margaret Schmidts Candies|
|Mr & Mrs Peter Lanzo|
|Mr & Mrs Garry Switala|
Bronze Patrons $250.00 – $999.00
|Alex Dagum, MD|
|Luisa Castiglia Gambino, MD|
|Mr. & Mrs. Burnet Pearce|
|Mr. & Mrs. Henry Montag|
|Mr. & Mrs. Steve Gruendling|
|Mr. & Mrs. Marc Gottlieb|
|Dr. & Mrs. Stephen Coccaro||Galo Burbano|
|Mr. & Mrs. Nicola Sinisi||Galo Burbano|
|Mr & Mrs Steven Feld||Galo Burbano|
|One Source Tool Supply|
|Mr & Mrs Peter D’Amato|
|Dr. & Mrs. John Tozzi|
|Stephen Haproff||Peach Ciccur|
|Mr & Mrs. Wayne Naegele|
|Dr’s John & Rosanna Cafaro|
|Mr & Mrs Walter Morris|
|Mr & Mrs James Borneman|
|Susan VB O’Shea|
Silver Patrons $1,000.00 – $2,499.00
|Mr. & Mrs. Galo Burbano||Joseph & Carmela Mollura|
|Mr & Mrs Steven Feld||In Honor Of Our Parents|
|Mahira Tanovic MD|
Gold Patrons $2,500.00 – $9,999.00
|John and Elaine Kanas Family Foundation|
|Paul Habek CRNA|
Platinum Patrons $10,000.00 – $49,999.00
Diamond Patrons $50,000.00+
It was an incredible mission in an absolutely beautiful city.
My experience here in Cuenca, Ecuador has been one in a life time. I have seen and done things that I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to at such an early point in my life. Prepping for a career in healthcare is not easy to do when the chance for hands on experience is minimal back at home. Here in Ecuador I have seen live surgeries, not through a window but actually standing in the operating room. I have been taught by amazing surgeons who willingly will explain a procedure as they are doing it. Everyone on these missions are willing to teach whatever they have to offer. Whether it is registering patients, witnessing examinations, helping in pre-op, being in the operating room, or in the post-op junior volunteers are always needed and very much appreciated.
Coming to Ecuador I did not know exactly what to expect. The lifestyle and norms of the residents are refreshing to see. Family is very important, and by communicating and helping them out you can see the appreciation in their faces and actions, it is and unexplainable feeling. Being in Ecuador has been a very rewarding experience and I do not plan on this being my only trip. I only look forward to more opportunities with this amazing organization.
My first experience with Blanca’s House has been incredible. Having the opportunity to be a part of a volunteer effort as large as this is very unique. I volunteer for my local community but this mission puts everything on a larger scale. Being a senior at Smithtown High School West and interested in the medical field gives me a whole different perspective towards the work that we are doing here in Cuenca, Ecuador. I can look at all the different jobs that go into making all if this possible and appreciate it more.
During my time in Cuenca I was able to experience all of the fields that go into the medical field. Being able to help screen patients, prep them for surgery, and later observe surgery was a life changing. After just a few days on the mission I can say that I will definitely be thinking about going into the medical field in college. Having the opportunity to help people in any way, let alone help with their health is rewarding in itself, but leaving with more knowledge about everything health care providers do is a bonus. This mission has really opened my eyes to all the good that can be done when s group of people has the desire and opportunity to help.
I look forward to the rest of this mission and to participating in many more in the future!
In October of 2011 I ventured with my dad, pediatric surgeon, Rich Scriven, to Babahoyo, Ecuador on my first medical mission. At first I was hesitant to go because of missing school along with other concerns; but in the end my dad convinced me to go by saying this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Blanca’s House experience was the most eye opening event I have encountered thus far in my life. I learned more in six days in Babahoyo than any amount of school could teach me.
Now, two years later I return on another mission to Ecuador in Cuenca. It is only the second day and I have already personally seen the lives of dozens changed for the better. I continue to learn more about the medical field and human nature, as well. I am so fortunate to get to come down and help people first-hand who are otherwise helpless. So, now I tell my dad, while going to Ecuador isn’t a once in a lifetime experience; I’m glad it’s not because I intend to return and help as many times as I can.
I joined my mom as volunteer on this mission. I wanted to do this because I want to be a plastic surgeon. I wanted to see some surgeons in action and get some experience.
I am only 15 and in 10th grade in high school. Not many people can experience this and I am very lucky to be able to do this. I really love doing this and helping out. I am having so much fun, I am enjoying myself, and learning a lot.
The healthcare professionals that Blanca’s House brings to Ecuador are superb. I currently work as a research technician in a biology research lab at Stony Brook University, so Blanca’s House provided me with the most direct and extensive exposure to healthcare that I have experienced. The scrub techs and surgeons welcomed me into the OR in no time! This trip is great fun and I have made wonderful friends.
This is my first mission and I’m working in the IT registration group. We interface with all other groups. There are many issues, just because of the situation, but we all work together as we know patients are counting on us to sort it all out. Walking by the recovery rooms and seeing smiles and getting nods of recognition and thanks make it all worthwhile. The junior volunteers are simply amazing. They quickly assume responsibility and work hard –we couldn’t do without them.
Hi, This is my fourth trip with Blanca`s House and I am part of the young volunteers in a Ecuadorian Foundation called The Heaven for the Children. I have been working as a volunteer for a year , and believe me is always a great experience , every trip is different, you know new people, work hard, share knowledge and the most important is that we do all as a big family and that is the best way to help people, this trips make me decide what I really want to do, heal people that need it is just unbelievable so I know that I need to work hard and I am ready to assume that , also in every trip the surgeons , doctors, nurses, volunteers teach have been teaching me a lot of things that I will never forget it. This is just an amazing work.
I love this Foundation and all the people that work here. I am so sure that this will not be my last trip. I will start my college in January and maybe, I will be so busy but I will use all my free time to do what we do best TO TAKE CARE ABOUT THE OTHERS.
This is my first Blanca’s House mission. I like to volunteer back home, and I always wanted to travel to a Spanish speaking country and use the language since I studied it for years in school. That’s why group was so appealing to me. At home I have worked in the healthcare field for 8 years as a pharmacy technician and more recently as a paramedic. I love working with patients and there is so much to learn every day in the healthcare field. I am working in the Pre-Op unit on this mission. I am getting to use and practice my Spanish. The patients here are awesome. The children are so well behaved. I got to start a lot of pediatric IVs, which is something I don’t get to do much working on the ambulance. My prior school experiences have helped me so much on this mission, such as working with limited resources, working with a new set of 60 plus coworkers, distracting and keeping children entertained for IVs and vitals before surgery. I am very lucky to share this experience with my sister who is a new nurse. It is great to see the cultural differences between here and back home, and how receptive these patients are to our care. This has been an amazing experience, I don’t want to leave, and I can’t wait to go on another mission.
Amanda L Zilnicki
Being in Cuenca, Ecuador has been such an amazing experience. I am a senior in high school and this is my second mission with Blanca’s House. I have learned so much on these missions. Both the patients and the other volunteers are so wonderful to work with. All the workers are so patient and take the time to teach me things that I would never be able to do in the United States at such a young age. I have seen all kinds of surgical procedures and even helped patients in recovery. I hope to become a registered nurse in the future and this has been a great way to learn more about the medical field. I definitely hope to go on another mission with Blanca’s House soon.
The Totals: SEPTEMBER 20 – 24
Total patients registered: 148
Rise and shine early this morning….breakfast at 5:30, left for the hospital at 6:00am. There’s a full surgical schedule today along with packing up our equipment and remaining supplies. There’s still a trickle of patients arriving this morning to register. One is 14 year old girl with a suspected melanoma on her leg. How horrible…so young and pretty. For the most part, the children being seen are cooperative. However, three have been at least three who wiggle, jiggle, and cry when you look at them.
Drs. Castiglia and Tsotsos, Thomas Intrabartola, Junior Volunteer, Valerie Simpson, Administrator, and Tamara Aviles, Ecuadorian Medical Student, were given the opportunity to visit a facility for the ambulatory severely developmentally disabled, located approximately one half hour away from the hospital. We were headed there to donate adult clothing to the residents. Right now, twelve live there, ranging in age from 14 to ~50 years old. The facility is run by the non-profit Mensajeros de la Paz (Messengers of Peace) Foundation, founded 18 years ago by a local priest. Four years ago, land was donated by a friend of the priest and, then subsequent to a car accident that left the former Vice President of Ecuador paralyzed, he created a foundation and donated the funds for the construction of the buildings and to purchase wheelchairs. Psychological, Language, Occupational, and Physical Therapies are provided twice daily. The buildings were impressively clean and a sense of community and care was indeed evident. They were so very thankful for the donation of clothing since the residents go through two to three changes daily. In addition, community members transport their cows to graze and the grassy slopes on the property, and the cow milk is then used by the Foundation for their residents. Please take the time to take a look at the pictures posted on the website…you’ll be impressed. But, there’s always a but, they desperately need commercial-sized clothes dryers and continued donations of adult diapers, disposable gloves, and wet wipes.
I thought that it was great that we went there and gave to them. I love being involved with special needs people and what we did for them was great. They had really nice facilities there and we very nice to the people.
Today we went to the “messengers of peace foundation” for me it was a really moving experience, there are people in this place with special needs but the place was very clean we could see how everybody there was very good taken care of, it made us happy to see that the people who work there do their jobs with their hearts.
When on a mission, it seems the packing up arrives incredibly quickly after the un-packing. This time it seems a little more hectic; not everything can be put away for the next mission. There are still patients waiting to go into surgery, some in PACU, and some who are still in rooms on the floor and need to be discharged.
Tonight is our closing ceremony…a wonderful meal thanks to the generosity of our doctors. Certificates are distributed and the wind-down time is wonderful.
The final pictures and blog will be published next week…thanks for your patience!