Foundation does the work of angels
“We are here to help.”
With those simple words, Dr. Andrew Moulton describes the attitude with which he, his wife, Geraldine Collado, and the other members of his Fundacion Mariposa (the Butter Foundation) approach their mission.
“Fundacion Mariposa strives to improve the lives of children of the Dominican Republic and Latin America who have complex spinal problems,” says Moulton, 36, a New York Medical College orthopedic spine surgeon who serves as the foundation chairman and president of the board of directors. “The means for achieving this mission involve both operative treatment and teaching by surgical volunteer teams from the U.S.”
According to the Brooklyn doctor, the foundation works under the adage: “Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach a man to fish and he feeds his village for a lifetime.”
The nonprofit Fundacion Mariposa has established a state-of-the-art operating hospital in the Dominican Republic, with an all-Dominican staff, which provides surgery and medical assistance at no cost.
The foundation’s mission is a worthwhile one that requires great dedication, long hours and quite a bit of money.
Created in February 2003, by Moulton, Collado and Dr. Thomas Errico, it mounted its first mission one month later, which was led by Moulton, Errico and Drs. Baron Lonner and Jeffrey Spivak of the Hospital for Joint Diseases.
The New York doctors and their surgical teams spent four days in the Dominican capita working with the native surgeons of Hospital Gautier and some doctors from other Latin American countries. They performed difficult and successful corrections of scoliosis.
Scoliosis is a lateral curving of the spine that, if not treated, can become so severe that it might cause obvious physical deformity, black pain and even heart and lung problems.
The New York doctors trained Dominican surgeons in the latest operating techniques. “That way we don’t have to be there for the children to be helped,” Moulton said. It is estimated that more than 10,000 children suffer from scoliosis in the Dominican Republic.
The missions are now carried out at three-month intervals, which means that after their first visit in 2003, nine more have taken place.
“We have helped more than 100 kids there already,” said Collado, 26, who is well known in her native Dominican Republic as the former co-hostess of “El Show del Mediodia,” a very popular TV program. She is director of the foundation’s Dominican Republic Mission.
But why Mariposa? What is the story behind the name?
“That was Andrew’s idea,” Collado said. “He believe that there is no better job than helping the worm turn into a butterfly so that it may achieve what seemed impossible before.”
“We want everybody to know that this type of help is available,” Moulton said. “People can contact me and I will give them information.”
The foundation Web site – www.fundacionmariposa.org