I wish to share with you the incredible story of Baby Maria’s journey from Darkness to Light. It all started in March 2015, when Elaine, the heart and soul of Nobody's Children was able to bring together Baby Maria and Dr. Capone, who performed several operations to cure her blindness.
Baby Maria's journey brought to our attention that many other infants in Romania are suffering from Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). These infants, just like Baby Maria can and deserve to be cured of blindness too. In order to do this, we need to establish a network of specialists in Romania that have the knowledge and resources to approach these delicate cases. This is our new mission.
Dr. Antonio Capone is a world renowned ophthalmology professor and surgeon who performed the surgery on Baby Maria. In regard to our mission Dr. Capone called it “the solution – a chance to impact a nation”. Under Elaine’s leadership and with Dr. Capone’s experience we are confident that we have the foundation necessary to help prepare doctors in Romania for current and future ROP cases. For more information on Baby Maria's amazing story and Nobody's Children organization please see the links below.
Although we have a strong foundation, we need more help to make our mission a success. We ask you to please consider making a donation to Nobody’s Children and forward this email to your friends and family. Each donation, no matter how small, will help us toward our goal.
Respectfully and gratefully,
For the last 2 years I, along with pediatric retinal surgery partners Drs. Michael Trese and Kimberly Drenser and neonatology colleague Dr. Cindy Price here at William Beaumont Hospital inRoyal Oak, Michigan, have been involved in an initiative to stop and/or diagnosis and treat retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in it’s early stages to prevent blindness in Romanian children. This initiative has been prompted by the increase in the number of Romanian infants in our clinics.
On one hand, Romania is a typical country evolving through the process of improving neonatal care – which in turn increases premature infant survival, and consequently prematurity associated complications such as blindness from ROP. However, what is genuinely unique about Romania is that the evolution to widespread implementation of screening programs so that infants requiring treatment for ROP could be identified and treated in a timely and appropriate fashion has happened with exceptional speed.
This evolution has been catalyzed by Ms. Elaine MacEwen and her team of Nobody’s Children’s-sponsored Romanian physicians. She recognized that meaningful change in Romania would require training not just ophthalmologists interested in pediatric retinal disease, but a team incorporating educational opportunities for Romanian neonatologists as well.
Nobody’s Children Romanian Doctor to Doctor ROP Program has sponsored nearly 20 Romanian ophthalmologists and neonatologists over these 2 years. Consequently, we have already seen a dramatic decline in the number of infants arriving leaving romania for advanced surgical care - because they are being more effectively managed as infants which lowers the incidence of ROP, and because they are being more effectively screened and treated at early stages of disease. Financial support of Nobody’s Children helps this organization continue to move toward it’s clearly defined goal: to prevent ROP when possible, and when it does occur to diagnose and treat it in it’s early stages to eliminate ROP-related blindness in Romania’s premature infant population.
A few words from Dr. Capone
Retinopathy of Prematurity
UPDATE ON BABY OLIVER and BABY MARIA ELENA
Baby Oliver continues to have vision improvement. On Nov. 27th Monica, his mother, will bring him back for followup surgery at Royal Oak on his left eye on Nov. 29th.
Back in Romania, Baby Maria Elena now has light perception as a result of her surgery, and is busy exploring her world with a big smile on her face. The doctors continue to follow her closely. On November 30 they will see her at their clinic in Rome, exactly one year after her first evaluation in Royal Oak. No longer does she exist in total blackness.
Meanwhile, 3 physicians have arrived from Timisoara, Romania for 3 weeks of observership at The William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak MI with Dr. Trece and Dr. Capone and their team. On Nov. 10th we have 4 doctors from Cluj, Bacu, Craiova and Bucharest arriving to attend the American Academy of Ophthalmology meetings in New Orleans, for education and for building their own international support networks.
In 2017 alone we brought 24 people to the US as part of this program, both doctors for training and mothers and babies for treatment at Royal Oak.
Nobody’s Children friends in the Royal Oak area have been visiting, providing transportation and rides to the grocery, bringing food and sharing meals with all our visitor there. Wonderful support.
A very special Thank You for those that have donated. As you might imagine all this travel and surgery is very costly, financial donations are still needed.
Donations can be sent by PayPal, or mailed to:
Nobody’s Children, P.O. Box 1076 Windham, New Hampshire 03087.
NEONATAL EYE CARE NETWORK: ROMANIA
BABY Maria's story is not unusual, in Romania, where infant blindness results from old-fashioned idea of neonatal intensive care. We have brought a series of pediatric opthalmogists from different cities in Romania to Detroit for training in the managment of this condition. They are bright and inquisitive young doctors who form the seed for a network of doctors to catch and treat this condition in Romania early, when it is easier to treat.
We have also brought several Romanian neonatologists, those who oversee the premature infants. In Detroit hey are learning how to train their colleagues in prevention of infant blindiness, and are learning the techniques of teamwork that make modern medical care so effective.
This award-winning photgraph was taken by photojournalist Fred Clarke for the International Red Cross at the Tasovcici Refugee Camp where we provided support during the Bosnian War.
Nobody's Children is an international 401(c)(3) charity based in Windham, NH for the past 25 years. We rely entirely on volunteers, and have no paid staff. Elaine Yourtee is the Executive Director and driving force that keeps our projects going. Virtually all of our funding comes from small individual donations.