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Exempla Lutheran Honored with Humanitarian Award for Service to Filipino Children

October 01, 2012

(Oct. 1, 2012) – For more than 10 years, Exempla Healthcare and Exempla Lutheran Medical Center have supported medical mission trips to the Philippines with personnel, supplies and administrative assistance. Uplift Internationale (UI), the humanitarian organization that coordinates the trips so that poor, rural children with facial deformities can get life-changing surgeries, has recognized Exempla, Lutheran and Ben Lovato with a 2012 Humanitarian Award.

Two awards will be presented at Uplift’s 15th annual gala benefit and auction on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Denver West Marriott. The other award goes to Dr. Zvi Jacob, from Stony Brook University.

“This is a way for us to say ‘thank you’ to someone who has made a difference for thousands of people he’s never met,” said Dr. Steve Krebs, UI board member and head of mission, and a Lutheran physician. “Ben and the sterile processing staff have worked tirelessly for a decade to help these children who otherwise would live their lives with no hope of the corrective surgery they need.”

Exempla Healthcare supports UI and its annual medical missions through financial and administrative assistance. Lutheran’s Sterile Processing Department staff, under Lovato’s direction, provide surgical towels, individual surgical instrument and supply packs for each child served on the mission, and sterilizes all necessary supplies each year prior to the mission.

Exempla provides a stipend for employees volunteering on the UI mission to assist with travel expenses, as well as office space and meals for monthly UI board meetings. 

This year’s UI gala will provide support for the 23rd medical mission to the Philippines to provide free surgical repair of cleft lips and cleft palates to about 120 impoverished children. 

“Without our assistance, these children will likely live a life burdened by debility and shame.  Most of them will die as they were born, with their deformed faces untreated,” said Dr. Jaime Yrastorza, president and founder of Uplift Internationale. 

This year’s surgeries will be conducted at the Siargao District Hospital, Siargao, Philippines from Feb. 2-10, 2013.  The volunteer mission members are from Colorado, California, Florida, Arizona, Kentucky, New York, China and the Philippines. 

The team efforts have provided more than 1,300 surgeries to children in the Philippines through the annual mission, Operation Taghoy. More than 584 self-funded volunteer medical personnel have participated since the project started in 1989. The annual one-week missions are conducted at one or more of eight host hospitals. Locally, the support groups include Rotary Clubs, the Medical Society, and the invitation of the Provincial governance.  Uplift Internationale is supported by a local board of directors, donors, Rotary Clubs, and foundations.

About Exempla Lutheran Medical Center
Exempla Lutheran Medical Center is a community-based, acute-care hospital located in Wheat Ridge, CO. It has been recognized repeatedly in Solucient’s 100 Top Hospitals study as one of the best hospitals in the country. Exempla Lutheran’s premier services include our five-star birthing center, Heart and Neurovascular Center, robotic surgery, Primary Stroke Center, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Human Motion Institute® (Orthopedic), and emergency services including the first Senior Emergency Room in the State of Colorado. In addition to the 338-bed hospital, Lutheran operations include Exempla West Pines (a behavioral health facility,) Collier Hospice Center, Bridges Integrative Health and Wellness Services and Exempla Colorado Lutheran Home and Apartments. To learn more, visit www.exemplalutheran.org