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Mission of Love gets needed donation

By J.T. Whitehouse

February 6, 2014
The Town Crier

The Mission of Love, based in Austintown, got a big donation over the weekend. Beds, mattresses, furniture and some therapy equipment was donated by Austinwoods Nursing Home and loaded onto two large trailers by a volunteer crew from around the area.

"We are remodeling at Austinwoods," Aquatic Director Cathy Crawford said. "The maintenance crew came to me to see if Mission of Love could use the old beds and furniture."

She said maintenance men Rich Leibau and Scott Hawkins knew about Mission of Love because of trips she had made to Guatemala. She went in 2010 and did a return trip two weeks ago to help the poor children and families. Part of that mission was the continued work to complete the Way-Bi Children's Hospice.

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Mission of Love Director Kathy Price, volunteer Molly Raybuck, and Austinwoods Aquatic Director Cathy Crawford prepare to load one of dozens of mattresses that were donated for use in the Way-Bi Childrens Hospice and a new clinic being planned for Costa Rica.

Way-Bi is a hospice for the indigenous people of Guatemala who otherwise have little access to medical assistance. Mission of Love Director Kathy Price said prior to the construction of Way-Bi, children with a terminal illness were sent home to die on dirt floors.

Two weeks ago, Price and a team of volunteers and surgeons made the trip to Guatemala to perform 21 cleft palate surgeries in just four days. Cleft palate is a split in the upper lip that can cause complications and lead to an early death. It can only be treated with surgery at a young age, and when it is done, the child has a good chance of living a normal life.

Performing the 21 surgeries were Dr. Carlos Ugalde from Seattle, Wash., Dr. Richard Sheetz from Columbus and a former Boardman High School graduate, and Dr. Guillermo Chacon from Seattle. Also making the trip was Chacon's wife, Molly Raybuck, who is a Boardman class of 2000 graduate. She saw first-hand the need of the Mayan people.

"These people are so much in need," Raybuck said. "People walk for days just to get the surgery. You think people around here are in need, these people are on a whole different level."

While the Mission of Love group was in Guatemala, they helped one family with a paralyzed father. The father was sleeping on a bed of wooden slats with no mattress. A bed was delivered for the man, and he was given a week of therapy to help him become more active in his home.

'That bed was like gold to those people who had nothing," Crawford said.

The beds and furniture from Austinwoods will have a similar affect when taken to Way-Bi in the coming months. The donation was taken to the Mission of Love warehouse at the Ravenna Arsonel on Saturday and will be skidded for a future airlift. Crawford said it is a continuing mission for Price that never seems to end.

"She (Price) just keeps going and going," Crawford said. "She no sooner finishes one mission trip than she is already planning the next one."



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