SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (Dec. 6, 2011) – Former American college and professional football wide receiver, Chris Doering, accompanied Dr. Michael Lauzardo, co-founder of the Keira Grace Foundation, to Hospital Infantil Dr. Robert Reid Cabral in Santo Domingo on Nov. 30.
The trip was part of the foundation’s program, "Deliver the Cure: Dominican Republic,” which has been active in Santo Domingo for seven years. Doering visited pediatric cancer patients who have benefited from collaborative efforts of Keira Grace Foundation and Fundacion Amigos contra el Cancer Infantil.
"It was an amazing experience to see first-hand the work Keira Grace Foundation is doing in the Dominican Republic” said Doering. "It is evident that the funds raised in the United States by the Lauzardos are going directly to these children and their families who not only depend on this support but are incredibly grateful.”
Keira Grace Foundation creates a collaboration between U.S. oncologists and the medical team at Hospital Infantil Dr. Robert Reid Cabral while supporting four key areas of cancer treatment: staffing, training, infrastructure and consultation.
"When we started working with physicians in the Dominican Republic, over half of the children diagnosed with leukemia died within the first year; many times as a result of treatment complications,” said Dr. Michael Lauzardo, who also serves as chief of the division of mycobacteriology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. "Now with targeted intervention protocols for these children, deaths from cancer in the first year mirror the statistics of pediatric cancer patients in America; an astounding drop in deaths to fewer than 5 percent.”
During the visit Doering also observed the progress on the "Share the Cure House,” a collaborative housing project of the foundation and other partners that will host families of the pediatric patients at no charge for extended overnight stays during cancer treatments. The "Share the Cure House” is scheduled to open in the summer of 2012.
Both Dr. Lauzardo and Doering were accompanied by professional Cuban-American photographer, Randy Batista. Images from the visit will be used to showcase the success of "Deliver the Cure: Dominican Republic,” at the foundation’s annual fundraising event, "Share the Cure 2012,” on March 3, in Gainesville, Fla.
"We are seeing a dramatic shift in cancer cure rates by simply sharing the cure we have here in the United States with children in the Dominican Republic and increasing survival rates by more than 400 percent,” said Dr. Lauzardo. "Our goal is to expose more Americans to this project to increase funding and expand our program to save the lives of many more children in the Dominican Republic.”
For more information about Keira Grace Foundation visit: www.keiragracefoundation.com.