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Bronxville Union Free School District

BHS Students Raised Money for Local Doctor’s Medical Trip

The newly founded Medical Science Club at Bronxville High School, created by co-presidents Grace Randall and Fina Maldonado, is driven by students who have an interest in the field of medicine and care about helping those who are less fortunate. This past January, a member of the local community, Dr. Lianne M. de Serres, traveled to India on a medical mission with Healing The Children Northeast, an organization whose goal is to treat children with facial deformities who would otherwise not have access to medical care. The Medical Science Club helped raise money for Dr. de Serres’ trip.

“We discovered through this fundraising effort that having access to quality medical care is something that many of us tend to take for granted,” Randall and Maldonado said. “This is not the case for many people across the world. India is the second most populated country in the world, yet only 17 percent of people receive healthcare, leaving millions of sick individuals untreated.”

The students said they were fortunate to hear about the trip personally from Dr. de Serres and were inspired to relay the story of her mission. They added that they’d like to continue to support the cause by providing community members with an opportunity to contribute.

Dr. de Serres, a pediatric otolaryngologist, traveled to India with 28 other team members, including plastic surgeons, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, nurses, speech pathologists and administrators who are experts in treating these disorders. They spent a total of 15 days in the cities of Pune, Ujjain and Indore, screened more than 1,000 patients and performed 175 operations on children and adults born with congenital defects such as cleft lip and palate and other facial deformities, as well as victims of trauma and burns.

“Our hope is to make these unfortunate people whole again by treating these defects that severely impact their ability to be functioning members of their community,” Dr. de Serres said.

While a major focus of the mission is clef lip repair, Dr. de Serres’ particular expertise is in performing procedures to close open palate deformities and correcting hypernasal speech in patients who have previously had palate repair.

“These problems, left untreated, greatly deplete these children’s quality of life by making it difficult to feed, communicate, assimilate into their communities, and as they grow find employment or even a spouse,” Randall said.

Yearly trips to India will continue and next year Healing The Children Northeast will expand its mission to sites in Jaipur and Mumbai, where great need for this type of care has been identified.

“People’s contributions can change the lives of countless children in a very tangible way,” Randall said. “Every dollar donated is equivalent to $7 worth of medical supplies and care in India, so even a small contribution goes a long way.”

For more information and to contribute to the cause, visit www.htcne.org. To donate to the mission, type in “de Serres India Mission” in the “Instructions to Seller” box.