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Healing the Children marks 25 years

The charity, which got its start with local support, has helped 16,000 children worldwide get medical care.

  • Ann Anderst (far left) worked in September in Monterrico, Guatemala, with other Healing the Children volunteers. Anderst is executive director of Heal...

    Submitted photo

    Ann Anderst (far left) worked in September in Monterrico, Guatemala, with other Healing the Children volunteers. Anderst is executive director of Healing the Children's Oregon and Western Washington chapter, based in Mukilteo.

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By Kristi O'Harran
Herald Columnist
Published:
  • Ann Anderst (far left) worked in September in Monterrico, Guatemala, with other Healing the Children volunteers. Anderst is executive director of Heal...

    Submitted photo

    Ann Anderst (far left) worked in September in Monterrico, Guatemala, with other Healing the Children volunteers. Anderst is executive director of Healing the Children's Oregon and Western Washington chapter, based in Mukilteo.

Twenty five years ago, Healing the Children began by helping one child. On March 26, the organization will celebrate its 25th anniversary.
In those 25 years, it's helped 16,000 children, said Executive Director Ann Anderst.
The organization, with 13 chapters in 22 states, brings children to the United States for medical care and sends medical teams abroad offering medical services that include working with families, dental care, hearing problems, podiatry and orthopedic care.
Healing the Children Oregon and Western Washington is based in Mukilteo. The chapter has helped children from more than 27 different countries. For instance, in 2010, the chapter sent a foot surgery team with 15 volunteers for the third year in a row to Nepal.
Work around the world is done by almost 200 volunteers with the support of local and international organizations, and three paid staff members. Healing the Children was incorporated Dec. 10. 1985, with trustees Sharon Haug of Snohomish, Claudia Young of Marysville and Criss Meligro of Seattle.
"We secure thousands of dollars worth of donated care each year to provide care for children in need," Anderst said. "We collaborate with hospitals, doctors, airlines, international partners and volunteers to bring children the life-saving medical care they need and deserve."
Healing the Children is holding a dinner and auction at 5:30 p.m. March 26 at the Everett Events Center, 2000 Hewitt Ave. The silent auction begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner and the live auction begin at 7 p.m.
For more information, go to www.htcorwwa.org or call 425-290-9300.
It was my honor 20 years ago to spend time with a Healing the Children patient, Sergei Vorosov, a 6-year-old heart patient who came to America to have surgery.
Sharon Haug, then director of the Oregon and Western Washington chapter, said the group heard about Sergei through Dr. Jonathan Bishop of the Snohomish Family Medical Center, who met the boy while in Russia evaluating medical needs.
Haug arranged for Sergei to have surgery with Dr. Edward Rittenhouse, a Seattle cardiovascular surgeon who has performed operations for Healing the Children for years.
Sharon and her husband, Irv Haug, and Rittenhouse are expected at the March 26 fundraiser.
When Sergei arrived in Everett, he didn't speak English.
Members of his host family, Carl and Linda Johnson of Everett, didn't speak Russian.
They grew to love and trust one another through sign language and hugs. Sergei went home and was reunited with his family. On Aug. 2, I wrote about how great Sergei is doing. The column titled, "Russian child's journey to Everett in 1992 was a success," included a recent picture of Sergei and his family.
Sergei graduated from the Khabarovsk branch of the Sovgavansky Industrial and Economic College and works in communications as an electrician.
The Johnsons housed and nurtured several more youngsters through Healing the Children: Isabel from Mexico, who had ear surgery; Patrick from Guatemala, who was badly burned; Yung Il Lee from Korea, who had heart surgery; and Sanget from India, who had a spinal operation.
Stories will be shared at the anniversary party about children who have been treated, and happily sent home, or children overseas who are thriving through the work of Healing the Children.
"We are changing the world, one child at a time," Anderst said.
Kristi O'Harran: 425-339-3451, oharran@heraldnet.com.
Dinner, auction
Healing the Children celebrates 25 years of miracles at a dinner and auction planned for 5:30 p.m. March 26 at the Everett Events Center in Everett, 2000 Hewitt Ave. The silent auction begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner and the live auction begin at 7 p.m. For more information, go to www.htcorwwa.org or call 425-290-9300.

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