Deseret International Foundation celebrates 20 years of healing

Published: Friday, Oct. 9 2009 12:18 a.m. MDT

To celebrate 20 years of healing and offering hope to lame, blind and disfigured children of the world, Deseret International Foundation hosted an evening of beautiful music.Jenny Oaks Baker played the violin and Jana Garrett and Daniel Beck sang as part of the anniversary evening on Thursday, Oct. 8, for the charitable foundation, started in 1989 by Jack Wheatley, George I. Cannon and Phillip Sonntag.Garrett sang a number written for the foundation recipients, \"For the Children of the World,\" as pictures of children helped by surgical procedures shown on the screen.__IMAGE1__Baker played \"Amazing Grace,\" in tribute to Grace Teh, who helped run the foundation in Manila for the past two decades, as well as \"Over the Rainbow\" and \"Gabriel's Oboe.\"Beck sang \"The Impossible Dream,\" which he said fit the occasion and the foundation's success, as well as \"Bring Him Home\" from Les Miserables.William Jackson explained that Deseret International has a unique mission in that the founders value and want to facilitate local physicians, dentists and medical personnel to help their nation's children.Deseret Foundation personnel go into a country, assess the critical needs and identify those willing to help. The foundation then offers support in cash, training and donated medical supplies to those doctors and dentists.Jackson said he and his wife soon noticed (after being called on an LDS mission to the Philippines) there were many children with serious but fixable problems. As Jackson had been asked to serve on the board of a local hospital, he was offered six free operations a month.Jackson said he had no idea the magnitude of what was starting, \"All we knew was people were being helped.\"\"That,\" he said, \"was 20 years and 45,000 surgeries ago.\"The Foundation newsletter for 2008 tabulates the value of surgical assistance given as $78,460,250.Today, the foundation is operating permanent health care clinics in more than 25 countries and homes for pre-op and post-op cases, which doubles the number of patients who can be helped with eye problems, club feet, cleft lips and palates. Surgeries for eye cataracts are performed for a little more than $25 per case.Further, in connection with the Deyhle Foundation, 200,000 schoolbooks have been distributed worldwide.\"Some say we are teaching men how to fish. They already knew how to fish and were better fishermen than we were,\" Jackson said.Jackson said the musical evening was in lieu of the foundation's regular board meeting.Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve both attended the event at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.To learn more visit www.desint.org.


E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com

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