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"Got Cleats?" Love a Child LetterLove a Child Certificate

Marshfield Youth Soccer collected gently used soccer equipment to send to Haiti. Our "Got Cleats?" campaign was inspired by Marshfield Youth Soccer parent Dr. Wende Buras's trip to Haiti to volunteer her medical services.

This is Dr. Buras's story:

On January 12th, 2010 a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the island of Haiti. Though the quake only rumbled for 35 seconds the devastation was widespread and ongoing. More than 212,000 people are dead and more than 300,000 are injured. In response to the need the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative coordinated a large displacement center and medical compound in Fond Parisien on the Haiti side of the border with Dominican Republic.

The camp was created to accommodate the several hundred injured Haitian earthquake victims who underwent surgery and is located on land donated by Love A Child Inc (LAC). The LAC foundation is an orphanage and school started more than 15 years ago. The buildings of LAC are located 40 minutes away from Port au Prince and sustained only minor damage that was quickly repaired. Several of the school classrooms were donated to be used by the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC).

The DRC camp provides a temporary home for over 1000 injured Haitian survivors and their families, and provides a high level of medical and rehabilitative support. There are more than 200 children in the camp. In early March I went to visit the field hospital to provide relief as an emergency medicine doctor and to facilitate transfers.

The DRC is an incredible feat. The temperatures in Haiti often soar to 100 degree, and the dust can be overwhelming. The DRC is set up in tents much like the movie "MASH". Patients and their families stay in the tents, receive medications and care. Helicopters flew some of the patients in from ships such as the USS Comfort. The teams of doctors and nurses make rounds on each of the rows of tents daily as they would in a regular hospital. The teams are an international mix of over 16 countries represented including Brazil and Ecuador.

Most of these patients are suffering from both mental and physical trauma. Many of them have lost their families and homes and have nothing. Many are having difficulty locating separated loved ones. The smallest patient included "baby Tina" who was born at the DRC while I was there. One of the oldest is a 75 year old woman that remained trapped under the rubble for 8 days before being rescued.

There are more than 200 children in the camp, many with amputees. The morale in the camp is monitored closely in these much traumatized patients.

One day we set up a soccer game after watching the children kick a ball around. The buzz and excitement in the camp was loud throughout the day as the word spread of the game. At 5pm, when the temperatures became cooler, everyone that could, made their way over to the "soccer field", basically a large level gravel area. Cans were set up on either end for goals. Players were children and international volunteers, most playing barefoot on the gravel field. The soccer ball was a much used volleyball. The patients, many of whom have lower extremity amputations, lined the sidelines to cheer their teams on. The game went on into the evening with both sides claiming victory. The remainder of the week showed improved spirits and much anticipation for the next game.

We hope to continue the games throughout the next 6 months to a year. Soccer was truly the international language between volunteers, patients and families. The children spent the days after the soccer game begging the staff for the ball and begging for the next game. When the DRC camp has completed its mission the orphanage will continue to benefit the children.

Our goal is to provide soccer equipment to the DRC camp to continue to provide the much needed boost in spirits and to facilitate healing. When the DRC has completed its mission the orphanage will continue the weekly soccer experience for the remaining orphans and school children in the area.

If you'd like to donate items or help with future collections, please contact Sean O'Malley at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .