Waterdown chiropractor ready to help in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

Community Oct 12, 2016 by Julia Lovett Flamborough Review

Dr. Cheryl van der Mark can still remember the smell of rotting bodies after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti in January 2010. She and her family were living near the city at the time of the catastrophe, doing medical work with a charity when the quake hit.

“Losing 250,000 people, that’s losing the entire core City of Hamilton. Every single person dead,” she said.

Van der Mark, who owns Waterdown Village Chiropractic Group, said it was an experience she and her family will never forget.

“When I think back on it, it’s hard to even believe what we saw, what we did and what we had to go through and the amount of mass injury,” she said.

That number, while a staggering statistic, was not the final one. In the ensuing weeks, the country tallied another 100,000 deaths from injuries. Then came the cholera epidemic, which killed another 10,000.

“It wasn’t, ‘Do you know somebody that died?’ it was, ‘Who do you know?’” she added.

Fast forward six years – and the country has been struck once again, this time with a Category 4 hurricane dubbed Matthew. In a country that is still recovering from the earthquake, this storm, which also hit the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Bahamas and Cuba before working its way up the Florida coast, is something the small but resourceful country now has to deal with.

“We have villages…in the southern peninsula and in the north that are completely decimated and completely destroyed,” she said, noting that Matthew is the biggest hurricane the country has had since about 1963. Pictures show one-room homes with their steel roofs torn off and villagers who are flooded out, wading in chest high water.

“These areas in the southern peninsula are so far away from the main city, which is Port-au-Prince, that they’re very remote and so they’re very cut off from even what little resources, you know, and help that Haiti has.”

Van der Mark explained that crops such as plantain, bananas and coffee have been decimated and whole communities destroyed, including Jeremie – where her adoptive twin girls are from.

“They do have some family still alive in the country, obviously extended family, and some of them are safe in the Port-au-Prince area right now but extended family, biological grandparents, etcetera, were in the Jeremie area so we have not had word on what’s happened to them,” she said last week.

Van der Mark lived in the country with her family, working at the Mission of Hope Haiti (MOH) in Titanyen just north of Port-au-Prince.

She discovered her love for the country after a trip helping in the DR and made a promise with her husband that they would be back to help again, but next time, in Haiti.

The opportunity came through contacts she had in the Christian community.

She happened to be making a presentation at a church the same day a group of the congregation had returned from doing a mission at MOH.

“I knew at that moment that this is where I wanted to go, so we started going on short term medical (missions),” she said.

Once they did go over, about nine years ago, they knew they could help; her husband is a talented handy man and she went to work developing medical programs at the Clinic of Hope specifically with indigenous Haitians by building a sustainable practice.

Although she is back in Canada (they returned in 2011), there is still more work to be done in the country and van der Mark hopes to go back in the near future, not only to work on long term projects but also to assist with storm cleanup. “What I’m doing right now is I’m working on another medical facility that’s already down there on the ground that is in a community where it was functional for a long time,” she said.

Van der Mark explained that the facility was funded at one time but is now sitting empty. “What we want to do is get this running again, but we also want it to be sustainable with Haitian doctors and nurses,” she added.

As a result, van der Mark visits the country about four times a year and is planning to go again in the next couple of months although the date has not been set.

The facility, a clinic and outpatient hospital that Service International Foundation (SIF), a Haitian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) runs, will work to serve the people of Croix des Bouquet, a city northeast side of Port-au-Prince and would service about 150-300,000 patients.

Dr. Alezandre Dauphin, a clinical professor in the Department of Anesthesia at McMaster University and anesthesiologist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, was slated to fly to his home country of Haiti on Tues., Oct. 11, to assist in relief efforts of Hurricane Matthew.

“The northern part is not too badly affected, the southern part is where the damage is quite extensive, with destruction of homes, cutting off of roads and no access and really people losing their livelihoods,” he said.

The doctor, who is also the chair of the advisory committee for the International Outreach Program with St. Joseph’s Health System, and Beraca Medical Centre in Haiti, explained the hurricane has taken a toll on the country that had just invested in a democratic election without any foreign aid.

“It was quite remarkable to happen,” he said, noting that the election was to take place last weekend and has since been postponed.

“It’s understandable, people would not be able to get access to go to voting,” said Dauphin.

The people, he said, are resourceful and are picking up the pieces while the death toll – currently around 900 – continues to climb.

“The Haitians help each other as we do normally. Sometimes it’s not really with money but just being there and give a helping hand and consoling each other,” he said, noting that the people are extremely hospitable.

“We’re resilient people.”

Van der Mark explained that when she goes over to the country, she checks in with the MOH’s Clinic of Hope to see how it is

progressing but is also busy working on the new clinic, where she and her team have put together a plan and a vision to get funding so they can hire Haitian nurses and doctors.

“The monies needed are for operations of that, so hiring the staff, the medications needed, to create the programs needed, to reach rural areas with mobile medical care as well as a central site. There’s also (a) lab, pharmacy, those types of things,” she said.

At the moment, the Haitian government, NGOs, the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations are still assessing the damage but note that hundreds of thousands are homeless or stranded trying to rebuild their lives.

While the country does need humanitarian aid, Dauphin said that it isn’t a good idea for everyone to go there. He said those planning to go should travel with an organization and know what kind of help they can offer. “The people who need to go there are people who really have the skills to offer certain things that are needed,” he said, noting that unskilled help can sometimes become a distraction for the hosts who are concerned for their guests’ well-being.

“Capable people can really help if they have the means down in Haiti,” he said.

For more information or to donate, visit the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission at mwhcm.org, newmissions.org, Mission of Hope and Haiti One at mohhaiti.org/relief. To learn more about St. Joseph’s International Outreach Program, visit: internationaloutreach.ca.

Waterdown chiropractor ready to help in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

Community Oct 12, 2016 by Julia Lovett Flamborough Review

Dr. Cheryl van der Mark can still remember the smell of rotting bodies after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti in January 2010. She and her family were living near the city at the time of the catastrophe, doing medical work with a charity when the quake hit.

“Losing 250,000 people, that’s losing the entire core City of Hamilton. Every single person dead,” she said.

Van der Mark, who owns Waterdown Village Chiropractic Group, said it was an experience she and her family will never forget.

“When I think back on it, it’s hard to even believe what we saw, what we did and what we had to go through and the amount of mass injury,” she said.

That number, while a staggering statistic, was not the final one. In the ensuing weeks, the country tallied another 100,000 deaths from injuries. Then came the cholera epidemic, which killed another 10,000.

“It wasn’t, ‘Do you know somebody that died?’ it was, ‘Who do you know?’” she added.

Fast forward six years – and the country has been struck once again, this time with a Category 4 hurricane dubbed Matthew. In a country that is still recovering from the earthquake, this storm, which also hit the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Bahamas and Cuba before working its way up the Florida coast, is something the small but resourceful country now has to deal with.

“We have villages…in the southern peninsula and in the north that are completely decimated and completely destroyed,” she said, noting that Matthew is the biggest hurricane the country has had since about 1963. Pictures show one-room homes with their steel roofs torn off and villagers who are flooded out, wading in chest high water.

“These areas in the southern peninsula are so far away from the main city, which is Port-au-Prince, that they’re very remote and so they’re very cut off from even what little resources, you know, and help that Haiti has.”

Van der Mark explained that crops such as plantain, bananas and coffee have been decimated and whole communities destroyed, including Jeremie – where her adoptive twin girls are from.

“They do have some family still alive in the country, obviously extended family, and some of them are safe in the Port-au-Prince area right now but extended family, biological grandparents, etcetera, were in the Jeremie area so we have not had word on what’s happened to them,” she said last week.

Van der Mark lived in the country with her family, working at the Mission of Hope Haiti (MOH) in Titanyen just north of Port-au-Prince.

She discovered her love for the country after a trip helping in the DR and made a promise with her husband that they would be back to help again, but next time, in Haiti.

The opportunity came through contacts she had in the Christian community.

She happened to be making a presentation at a church the same day a group of the congregation had returned from doing a mission at MOH.

“I knew at that moment that this is where I wanted to go, so we started going on short term medical (missions),” she said.

Once they did go over, about nine years ago, they knew they could help; her husband is a talented handy man and she went to work developing medical programs at the Clinic of Hope specifically with indigenous Haitians by building a sustainable practice.

Although she is back in Canada (they returned in 2011), there is still more work to be done in the country and van der Mark hopes to go back in the near future, not only to work on long term projects but also to assist with storm cleanup. “What I’m doing right now is I’m working on another medical facility that’s already down there on the ground that is in a community where it was functional for a long time,” she said.

Van der Mark explained that the facility was funded at one time but is now sitting empty. “What we want to do is get this running again, but we also want it to be sustainable with Haitian doctors and nurses,” she added.

As a result, van der Mark visits the country about four times a year and is planning to go again in the next couple of months although the date has not been set.

The facility, a clinic and outpatient hospital that Service International Foundation (SIF), a Haitian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) runs, will work to serve the people of Croix des Bouquet, a city northeast side of Port-au-Prince and would service about 150-300,000 patients.

Dr. Alezandre Dauphin, a clinical professor in the Department of Anesthesia at McMaster University and anesthesiologist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, was slated to fly to his home country of Haiti on Tues., Oct. 11, to assist in relief efforts of Hurricane Matthew.

“The northern part is not too badly affected, the southern part is where the damage is quite extensive, with destruction of homes, cutting off of roads and no access and really people losing their livelihoods,” he said.

The doctor, who is also the chair of the advisory committee for the International Outreach Program with St. Joseph’s Health System, and Beraca Medical Centre in Haiti, explained the hurricane has taken a toll on the country that had just invested in a democratic election without any foreign aid.

“It was quite remarkable to happen,” he said, noting that the election was to take place last weekend and has since been postponed.

“It’s understandable, people would not be able to get access to go to voting,” said Dauphin.

The people, he said, are resourceful and are picking up the pieces while the death toll – currently around 900 – continues to climb.

“The Haitians help each other as we do normally. Sometimes it’s not really with money but just being there and give a helping hand and consoling each other,” he said, noting that the people are extremely hospitable.

“We’re resilient people.”

Van der Mark explained that when she goes over to the country, she checks in with the MOH’s Clinic of Hope to see how it is

progressing but is also busy working on the new clinic, where she and her team have put together a plan and a vision to get funding so they can hire Haitian nurses and doctors.

“The monies needed are for operations of that, so hiring the staff, the medications needed, to create the programs needed, to reach rural areas with mobile medical care as well as a central site. There’s also (a) lab, pharmacy, those types of things,” she said.

At the moment, the Haitian government, NGOs, the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations are still assessing the damage but note that hundreds of thousands are homeless or stranded trying to rebuild their lives.

While the country does need humanitarian aid, Dauphin said that it isn’t a good idea for everyone to go there. He said those planning to go should travel with an organization and know what kind of help they can offer. “The people who need to go there are people who really have the skills to offer certain things that are needed,” he said, noting that unskilled help can sometimes become a distraction for the hosts who are concerned for their guests’ well-being.

“Capable people can really help if they have the means down in Haiti,” he said.

For more information or to donate, visit the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission at mwhcm.org, newmissions.org, Mission of Hope and Haiti One at mohhaiti.org/relief. To learn more about St. Joseph’s International Outreach Program, visit: internationaloutreach.ca.

Waterdown chiropractor ready to help in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

Community Oct 12, 2016 by Julia Lovett Flamborough Review

Dr. Cheryl van der Mark can still remember the smell of rotting bodies after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti in January 2010. She and her family were living near the city at the time of the catastrophe, doing medical work with a charity when the quake hit.

“Losing 250,000 people, that’s losing the entire core City of Hamilton. Every single person dead,” she said.

Van der Mark, who owns Waterdown Village Chiropractic Group, said it was an experience she and her family will never forget.

“When I think back on it, it’s hard to even believe what we saw, what we did and what we had to go through and the amount of mass injury,” she said.

That number, while a staggering statistic, was not the final one. In the ensuing weeks, the country tallied another 100,000 deaths from injuries. Then came the cholera epidemic, which killed another 10,000.

“It wasn’t, ‘Do you know somebody that died?’ it was, ‘Who do you know?’” she added.

Fast forward six years – and the country has been struck once again, this time with a Category 4 hurricane dubbed Matthew. In a country that is still recovering from the earthquake, this storm, which also hit the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Bahamas and Cuba before working its way up the Florida coast, is something the small but resourceful country now has to deal with.

“We have villages…in the southern peninsula and in the north that are completely decimated and completely destroyed,” she said, noting that Matthew is the biggest hurricane the country has had since about 1963. Pictures show one-room homes with their steel roofs torn off and villagers who are flooded out, wading in chest high water.

“These areas in the southern peninsula are so far away from the main city, which is Port-au-Prince, that they’re very remote and so they’re very cut off from even what little resources, you know, and help that Haiti has.”

Van der Mark explained that crops such as plantain, bananas and coffee have been decimated and whole communities destroyed, including Jeremie – where her adoptive twin girls are from.

“They do have some family still alive in the country, obviously extended family, and some of them are safe in the Port-au-Prince area right now but extended family, biological grandparents, etcetera, were in the Jeremie area so we have not had word on what’s happened to them,” she said last week.

Van der Mark lived in the country with her family, working at the Mission of Hope Haiti (MOH) in Titanyen just north of Port-au-Prince.

She discovered her love for the country after a trip helping in the DR and made a promise with her husband that they would be back to help again, but next time, in Haiti.

The opportunity came through contacts she had in the Christian community.

She happened to be making a presentation at a church the same day a group of the congregation had returned from doing a mission at MOH.

“I knew at that moment that this is where I wanted to go, so we started going on short term medical (missions),” she said.

Once they did go over, about nine years ago, they knew they could help; her husband is a talented handy man and she went to work developing medical programs at the Clinic of Hope specifically with indigenous Haitians by building a sustainable practice.

Although she is back in Canada (they returned in 2011), there is still more work to be done in the country and van der Mark hopes to go back in the near future, not only to work on long term projects but also to assist with storm cleanup. “What I’m doing right now is I’m working on another medical facility that’s already down there on the ground that is in a community where it was functional for a long time,” she said.

Van der Mark explained that the facility was funded at one time but is now sitting empty. “What we want to do is get this running again, but we also want it to be sustainable with Haitian doctors and nurses,” she added.

As a result, van der Mark visits the country about four times a year and is planning to go again in the next couple of months although the date has not been set.

The facility, a clinic and outpatient hospital that Service International Foundation (SIF), a Haitian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) runs, will work to serve the people of Croix des Bouquet, a city northeast side of Port-au-Prince and would service about 150-300,000 patients.

Dr. Alezandre Dauphin, a clinical professor in the Department of Anesthesia at McMaster University and anesthesiologist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, was slated to fly to his home country of Haiti on Tues., Oct. 11, to assist in relief efforts of Hurricane Matthew.

“The northern part is not too badly affected, the southern part is where the damage is quite extensive, with destruction of homes, cutting off of roads and no access and really people losing their livelihoods,” he said.

The doctor, who is also the chair of the advisory committee for the International Outreach Program with St. Joseph’s Health System, and Beraca Medical Centre in Haiti, explained the hurricane has taken a toll on the country that had just invested in a democratic election without any foreign aid.

“It was quite remarkable to happen,” he said, noting that the election was to take place last weekend and has since been postponed.

“It’s understandable, people would not be able to get access to go to voting,” said Dauphin.

The people, he said, are resourceful and are picking up the pieces while the death toll – currently around 900 – continues to climb.

“The Haitians help each other as we do normally. Sometimes it’s not really with money but just being there and give a helping hand and consoling each other,” he said, noting that the people are extremely hospitable.

“We’re resilient people.”

Van der Mark explained that when she goes over to the country, she checks in with the MOH’s Clinic of Hope to see how it is

progressing but is also busy working on the new clinic, where she and her team have put together a plan and a vision to get funding so they can hire Haitian nurses and doctors.

“The monies needed are for operations of that, so hiring the staff, the medications needed, to create the programs needed, to reach rural areas with mobile medical care as well as a central site. There’s also (a) lab, pharmacy, those types of things,” she said.

At the moment, the Haitian government, NGOs, the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations are still assessing the damage but note that hundreds of thousands are homeless or stranded trying to rebuild their lives.

While the country does need humanitarian aid, Dauphin said that it isn’t a good idea for everyone to go there. He said those planning to go should travel with an organization and know what kind of help they can offer. “The people who need to go there are people who really have the skills to offer certain things that are needed,” he said, noting that unskilled help can sometimes become a distraction for the hosts who are concerned for their guests’ well-being.

“Capable people can really help if they have the means down in Haiti,” he said.

For more information or to donate, visit the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission at mwhcm.org, newmissions.org, Mission of Hope and Haiti One at mohhaiti.org/relief. To learn more about St. Joseph’s International Outreach Program, visit: internationaloutreach.ca.