A network of caring individuals supporting the people of Haiti through medical care and treatment

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Funding Sustainable Care

Project Starfish Haiti is working to establish a permanent clinic in underserved, rural villages, provision clinic pharmacies with locally purchased supplies, and subsidize travel expenses for volunteers.

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Healing & Comforting

We seek to improve the overall health and well-being of people in Haiti by treating each patient with dignity, respect, and the best possible care we can provide.

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Raising Awareness

Haiti is a nation with extreme poverty and severely limited resources, making our help essential to meeting the substantial healthcare needs of its people.

The Project

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Three Ways To Give

Your support will help us fund more regular trips to Haiti, purchase pharmaceuticals, and potentially establish a permanent clinic.

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Donate Now

Make a difference in the lives of Haitians by making a one-time, tax-deductible donation to Project Starfish Haiti.




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Send a Check

If you would prefer to send a tax-deductible donation by check, please make it out to Project Starfish Haiti and mail to:

217 Hardwood Court
Hardy, Virginia 24101

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Shop

When you shop at smile.amazon.com, simply select Project Starfish-Haiti as your charity of choice and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to us!

Project Starfish Haiti is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, and all donations are tax deductible. Financial statements are available upon written request from the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs.

Gallery

Check out highlights from recent medical missions to Haiti

Meet the Team

Our dedicated volunteers

Adam Sarbin, M.D.

Adam Sarbin, M.D.

I am a pediatrician from Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia and I  began leading teams to Haiti following the devastating earthquake in 2010. In 2013, with the help of many, Project Starfish Haiti was established in the hopes of providing long-term, sustainable care to underserved areas. My love for the Haitian people, this team, and the work we do continues to grow with every trip!

Jenny Baldwin, R.N.

Jenny Baldwin, R.N.

A maternal/child nurse for 22 years, I joined Dr. Sarbin’s team on their first trip to Haiti in 2010. After falling in love with the indomitable spirit of the Haitian people, I joyously returned the following year! I am proud to be affiliated with Project Starfish Haiti and continue to support the organization’s ongoing commitment to serve.

 

Kitty Luth Sparhawk, M.D.

Kitty Luth Sparhawk, M.D.

I am a Family Practice Physician who has been working with international missions since 1984, providing medical and foster care to children and adults in the US and abroad. While providing outreach clinics with Angel Missions Haiti, I met Adam, Carey, and Jenny, and eventually Project Starfish Haiti was formed! I am excited at the growth of our team and the progress we are making helping Haitians develop sustainable, local healthcare.

Carey Cole, F.N.P.

Carey Cole, F.N.P.

A Family Nurse Practitioner, I joined the team on their 2012 trip to Haiti. I enjoyed working with the local Haitian people to bring medical treatment to those who are unable to access routine care, and I look forward to many future trips and watching the progress of Haiti as it grows into a beautiful country.

Kirsten Newcomb, R.N.

Kirsten Newcomb, R.N.

Currently a cardiac care nurse working in Charlottesville, Va, I first heard of Project Starfish Haiti through a great friend. All she had to tell me was there’s an incredible group of people doing wonderful work down in Haiti. I am so thrilled to call this group of medical professionals my family and look forward to many more adventures.

Lindsay Cole, aka

Lindsay Cole, aka "Smiley"

I joined the adventure in 2012. Being the youngest of our “comrades,” I get to be everyone’s assistant. Each year I am inspired by the great strength and ingenuity of the Haitian people. I adore my team and look forward to many more missions.

Chelsea LaBree, R.N.

Chelsea LaBree, R.N.

When I first heard about Project Starfish Haiti in 2013, I jumped at the opportunity to go. And haven’t missed a trip since! With each trip, I continue to fall more in love with this country and its people and I am so grateful to be a part of this amazing team.

Melila Hunter, R.N., B.S.N.

Melila Hunter, R.N., B.S.N.

I am a Certified Pediatric Registered Nurse and have 17 years of nursing experience. I was born and raised in Haiti and was 14 years old when my family relocated to the United States. I went back for the first time in 19 years on a 2010 mission trip and it changed my life. Now I can’t imagine a year going by without going on at least one mission trip back to the country I now call my home away from home! I love helping my people and it’s a joy to be doing so alongside such an amazing group.

Tom Sparhawk

Tom Sparhawk

As professor of sociology I have been studying issues of development and inequality for many years. Being a part of Project Starfish Haiti allows me to see these issues first hand and offer advice as well as assistance to the highly trained medical staff. I’m really trying to, in a small way, help the people of Haiti take a step toward not needing assistance from outside groups.

Peter Whitehead, M.D.

In Memoriam

photo95editPeter began traveling with Project Starfish Haiti in 2011.  He already had a passion for medical mission work, having made multiple trips to India previously. Sadly, we lost Peter on January 13, 2015 after a courageous battle with cancer. We honor his memory and passion by continuing our work, and we hope to some day dedicate a permanent clinic in his name.

Interested in helping? Get in touch and see how you can join us.

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Blog

Our latest adventures in Haiti

Here we go again

Here we are, the Team, from Project Starfish Haiti, preparing for a trip to reunite with our Friends and Colleagues on Ile a Vache, with plans to hold medical clinics in the community’s Church, as well as at other local Community Centers.

Thatch roof cook house

Thatch roof cook house

We imagine what the land will look like, after the recent storms. I have personally gotten a little frustrated with the ongoing foul weather here in Virginia: it seems every other week there is a new hurricane, a threatened tornado, a severe thunderstorm. I worry about my adult children, the farm animals and about the road conditions, but so far have had no major difficulties other than soggy family weddings and a very muddy pasture.

It is a much different picture in Haiti. There, the rain falls on a rocky island already scoured of much of its topsoil by many years of exploitation by invaders, and by overcrowding. In addition to the hurricanes that have pummeled the US, the nation of Haiti has endured another earthquake.

Children coming home

Coming home

Rain has fallen for weeks on end, with little break, and since most people rely on the products of their own gardens, food is scarce. The children of the orphanage on Ile a Vache depend on a delivery of food from off the island once a month and that had to be delayed due to the danger of travel in a small boat to trade for the food.

A clinic in a Church

A clinic in a Church

I am crabby because I miss the sunshine on my face, but I have a dry, sturdy home to come to during the storms. I have access to a warm water shower if I fall into a mud puddle, and I can throw my dirty clothes into an electric washer and dryer. It is rare to not have electricity available to me.

Imagine living in a dirt floor house, with reed walls and a thatched palm or tin roof in tropical heat and pouring rain.

Laundry by the road

Laundry by the road

You have to walk out doors to use the hand dug privy. You sleep on a single mattress with your spouse and possibly your children, and you cook your meals on a campfire outside of your house. You either walk or, if very fortunate, ride a moto, on a dirt road to get to school or to work. Your clothes (after washing in water you collected from a community cistern in a bucket) will be hung up to dry outside, or possible from your

roof inside. You might feel like you have not been dry in a month or more.

Carrying water

Carrying water for laundry

And yet, your spirit is so strong and hopeful, that you continue on, with hope for your future and that of your children, and you will greet the Team who are coming to your community with open arms and open, cheerful hearts.

I am so grateful for the people of Haiti who have taught me so much about the value of the important things in life: Love, Community, Hard Work, Cooperation, Faith, and Generosity of Spirit.

Hope for the Future

Imagine a warm sunny morning after several days of rain. You have spent your night in a small

Giving birth

2 room cement home with your husband and children, and your husband has left very early to go out on the ocean to fish. The labor pains start fast and hard, and you know the baby will be born today. Your labor is too difficult to allow you to walk up the steep hill to ask the “Big Man” on the island for a ride to the clinic in the back of the only truck in your community, so some neighbors pick you up on the springs of your mattress and carry you up the hill.

You ask for help getting to a distant clinic and the “Big Man” says he would love to take you, but the dirt roads will be impassible, you will have to stay here. By good fortune,

the Team has Doctors and Nurses here this week who have experience in deliveries, newborn care, and

Proud sisters

resuscitation of newborns. The Women Elders in the community have a special “tea” to help and a clean string for tying the cord, and there is a nearby mango tree that provides shade, although no privacy from all the schoolchildren who have stopped on their way to school. Your brother, who helped carry you up the hill, is the perfect back rest for you to deliver your baby.

Home visit

You deliver your baby safely and within your community, and over the next several days are visited by members of the Team to be sure all is well. A year later, you bring your healthy boy into the clinic at the church for the Team to admire.

I cannot express the feeling of relief and joy to see this delivery

One year checkup

progress smoothly and safely, and the gratitude of this Mother for being able to have assistance in her own community. This is what we

are working for on Ile a Vache, but we need your help. We need to finish the Peter Y. Whitehead Clinic and have a sustainable income in order to recruit and keep medical personnel in this community. Trips by Teams every few months are helpful, but this is not enough.

In addition to having one time donations when our donors are able to give we now need sustaining members so we have an income to rely on to keep this clinic running: for a salary for a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist, and a community health worker. Please consider setting up a monthly payment to support this effort. Any amount is helpful.

This can be set up through PayPal or, even better, with a monthly payment through your electronic banking. You will still get a yearly statement for a tax deduction and we will have a working budget to keep the clinic functioning year round. Best of all, you will be helping one more “Starfish” back into the “Sea”!

A Tale of Two Boys in Two Countries

Recently a Friend in Bedford, VA suffered a puncture wound to his leg while trying to do some yard work. It was a mild injury, but unfortunately his leg became a bit red, and over a couple of days became more and more painful: he had to see a Medical Practitioner in his town to have minor surgery and an antibiotic. It was a bit frightening, but his surgery was done that day in an office setting, and antibiotics took care of the rest. He had already had his tetanus shot and healed very quickly. He paid a copay for his care, but much of the bill was paid by his insurance, and he has made a complete recovery.

Contrast that to the story of a young boy named Wandales. He is a very active, energetic, cheerful boy on Ile a Vache, who lives with his Mother in a dirt floor, grass house. He was playing several years ago and sustained a puncture wound to the bone in his lower leg. He did not do anything to care for the wound because his Mom knows little about hygiene and wound care and there is no Clinic nearby so over the next few days he continued to play soccer each day on the dirt school yard, and his leg swelled and hurt. It drained fluid continuously and slowly the bone in his leg developed a large lump and was even more painful. There was no choice to see a Medical Care Provider as there were none within walking distance, and his Mom could not afford that anyway. The leg began to deform and continued to fester.

During a trip to Ile a Vache, the Team noticed Wandales trying to play soccer and saw that he was limping and, after an examination, determined that the infection in his leg had entered the bone, and that he was at risk of having the bone break if he did not get treatment. The Team found a Donor who came forward and provided the money for his Mother and Wandales to travel first by foot, then in a boat, and then by “Tap-Tap” (group taxi) to a hospital on the mainland of Haiti, where he paid cash in advance for wound care and medication.  Gradually the infection cleared, and the bone is starting to remodel to a more normal shape, he did not contract tetanus, and, best of all, Wandales is growing and playing soccer without pain or a limp.

Wouldn’t it be better to have preventive care such as immunizations, medical care that is affordable and locally available, and education for islanders on wound hygiene and prevention? We really need to finish the Peter Y. Whitehead Memorial Clinic on Ile a Vache and develop a fund for sustainable care on this island.

Home Safe…but One Foot Still in Haiti

We had but 1 mishap on our return trip – Sarah’s carry-on, which was checked in Port au Prince to make room on the plane, never seemed to make it to the carousel in ATL. We were assured it would be forwarded all the way to ROA, so we all regathered for a well deserved dinner and beverage before our last flight.

 

It was another smooth and quick flight into Roanoke, but unfortunately, we are still waiting for Sarah’s bag to arrive. If someone grabbed it by mistake, they will surely get a surprise of sweaty, dirty laundry!! I just hope no cherished items are missing.

I have now heard from the whole team and all are home safe. Hopefully everyone enjoyed a good night’s rest after a joyful reunion with their loved ones. I know from our parting conversations, all are still thinking of our trip and longing to return as soon as the opportunity presents itself.  For now, we will resume our daily lives with family, friends and jobs, but our late October trip is already in the planning stages and we will soon begin planning for March 2019 and beyond.

This is a great commitment by these devoted team members but we can only take our mission so far. The Peter Y Whitehead Memorial Clinic is going to be completed within the next year, weather permitting and again resource permitting. With our partners in Buffalo, NY just over $300,000 has been raised and nearly $75,000 allocated to keep the project moving forward. We must raise an additional $150,000-$200,000 to maintain the momentum and see this project fully completed! Following completion we will need to work towards an endowment to ensure sustainable services within this facility – this is where other projects have failed and for us, failure is NOT an option!

We have come so far from very humble beginnings, and with your assistance and the continued commitment from the team, I am certain we will reach our goal! If you have been following our travels ’til now then I can’t help but believe you too are committed to helping us reach this goal, so PLEASE reach out and hit this DONATE button and then reach as deep as you are able to help us cross this most important finish line!

That is all for now, but you will be hearing more from us and our partners in the coming months as we strive to reach our goals. Thank you for all your support – past, present and future!

Love to All,

Adam

Homeward Bound…aka Hurry Up and Wait

Last night we all cooled down on the roof and shared stories of our week as we listened to a raucous celebration on a nearby rooftop. We were tempted to join the party, but thought better of it as the work of the week had taken its toll.

The generator cut off early, so no fans, and those not in a corner room had a sultry night to endure. All of us were assaulted by the sounds of the night, and for those who have followed our travels, you know that means roosters, chickens, dogs and even some as yet unidentified creatures….it went on all night, building to max decibels just before dawn. In all the years I have spent overnights in Port au Prince, this was definitely the worst night for wildlife noise…and that’s saying something!

At least we didn’t have an early morning. Breakfast was at 9am sharp and boy was it a spread…enough to make the Hotel Roanoke proud – coffee, eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast, oatmeal, melon, pineapple and mango!! The food here never dissapoints.

After breakfast, we loaded the bus one last time and headed to the airport with Mario at the wheel again…smooth ride. We arrived in plenty of time – surprisingly light traffic on a work day midweek! Of course once inside the airport, it was hurry up and wait…the usual.

Delta ticket agents seem to gather for an hour before actually checking luggage….and then they inform you to go to another line to first have your passport checked before getting to the ticket counter. Then we pass thru TSA security, Immigration, we wait some more, then another passport and personal item check by Delta and then a final wait before boarding the actual plane! For those counting, we had our passports and boarding passes checked no fewer than seven times, eight for those who purchased anything in the duty free store (even if just a soda) and it required another if anyone needed to use the bathroom – actual passport check and an escort! This should be the safest flight in the sky!!

We should be boarding “soon”…maybe, so I will conclude here for now. I will post a quick message on Facebook announcing our arrival in Atlanta and another final post tomorrow once well rested from the day’s travel. Wishing all our loved ones well and looking forward to our reunions!

Love to All,

The Team

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