Second Chances - An Act of Transformation
Organized by: Richard Lewis Dawson, Jr.
Ronald E. Smith, MD Professor and Chair Department of Ophthalmology USC Eye Institute
February 25, 2016
EVENT DATE Feb 13, 2016
Second Chances - An Act of Transformation
Half a world away in the Horn of Africa, a curious two year old toddler plays alone in a dusty courtyard of an Ethiopian orphanage. He has no concept that today his world will forever be changed in ways that he could not possibly begin to comprehend.
Today is the culmination of two years of bureaucratic efforts to reunite this cute little Ethiopian boy with his two older biological sisters. Both of their parents have died, innocent casualties of the AIDS epidemic decimating Sub-Saharan Africa.
These three Ethiopian little people of whom I speak are mine; my newly adopted children.
I believe in People. I believe in the potential of the Human Spirit. I believe in personal Transformation.
Beginning with my biochemist turned Catholic Deacon father and extending into my professional life as an Interventional Cardiovascular Technologist, I have been dedicated to the idea of personal transformation.
For years, I would race to hospital rooftop heliports to unload heart attack victims, to get them down into the CathLab where I'd help unblock their clogged heart arteries; providing them a second chance at life to see their grandchildren grow or to walk a daughter down the aisle. Later, I'd help to implant miniature cardiac defibrillators into patient's chests to bring them back from certain death courtesy of some lethal heart rhythm. More recently, I'd help extract a liver, a lung or a heart from an automobile accident victim; rush this organ off to the nearest airport to catch a private jet to transform the life of an anxiously waiting mother or young child. More lives transformed!
I myself have been Blessed to be a recipient of a second chance at life. In 1998, I felt a suspicious lump on my neck while shaving. It turned out to be two cancerous tumors of my thyroid gland. It was only by the Grace of God that 18 years and six surgeries later I can still look forward to changing lives.
This is the motivation behind my Crowd funding appeal.
I want to provide the "Gift of Sight" to as many of the world's under-served as humanly possible by performing Cataract Eye Surgery.
I am referring to the "needlessly blind", the 22 million poor people worldwide who are currently at risk from preventable cataract blindness.
They live in the developing world in countries like China, India, South America, Southeast Asia, West Africa and my children's home: Ethiopia.
The cure is an elegant surgery that can be completed in as little as fifteen minutes.
With the remaining time allotted me on this Earth (~10,000 days), I intend to transform the lives of as many of the world's poor as possible; to give them a second chance at life, to once again be productive or more often than not, just to simply have the opportunity TO grow up.
It is unfortunate that we in western society possess this curative technology yet lack the will to protect this most precious of senses in those of lesser means.
Some organizations are actively engaged in fighting this global pandemic. A new NGO called Help Me See (www.helpmesee.org) has initiated a bold revolutionary plan to eliminated worldwide cataract blindness by utilizing state of the art live tissue modeling virtual reality simulators to allow native ophthalmologists and non-physician cataract specialists to surgically practice cataract eye surgery multiple times before actually touching a live human eye.
Now indigenous people the world over will have the ability to cure themselves!
I have enlisted the help of a university trained ophthalmologist clinical instructor who has graciously agreed to mentor me in this surgical technique called MSICS (Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery). My lovely wife has allowed me permission to convert our family library into an Ophthalmological Cataract Surgical Wet Laboratory.
What I am lobbying for is:
1. Zeiss OPMI Lumera T Surgical Microscope with stereo co-observation tube in floor stand configuration. $90,000.00
2. Millennium Surgical cataract surgical instrument tray $10,000.00
3. Bovie MI1000 Minor Surgery LED Light Portable Floor Model# XLD-FM $4,000.00
4. Igloo 4.5 cu ft Mini Fridge/Freezer Model# FR465 $200.00
5. Tuttnauer 1730MK Steam Autoclave Sterilizer for Instruments $1,200.00
I am told that it will be approximately six months before I am proficient to solo thus becoming the first U.S. nonphysician cataract specialist to practice exclusively abroad.
After which, I intend to join the new NGO HelpMeSee as a Non-physician Clinical Instructor at one of their overseas training facilities.
Futhermore, I intend to spend two weeks each quarter aboard the Africa Mercy Ship (www.mercyships.org) off the coast of Africa operating on patients; instructing new doctors in the MSICS technique and continuing on my mission of transforming lives.
Thank you for your time.
May God Bless you,
Richard Lewis Dawson, Jr.