International Extremity Project: How We Do It

I feel a great sense of pride when reflecting on what our team has done.

All in all, we have performed major lower-extremity reconstructions on 250 children and young adults. These are operations that the families could not afford nor were there local doctors with the skills to perform them. These foot and ankle surgeries provide life-changing deformity corrections. Whereas most of these children couldn't walk or even wear shoes before their procedures, the corrections allow them not just to walk, but to attend school, own businesses, become farmers, and participate in their communities.

I started doing these missions in 1998. At that time, I secured donations, gathered equipment, communicated with the hospital, and planned the trips by myself. Despite our organization growing over the years, I still managed the logistics for several trips. Then Dr. Spanko started gathering equipment and handling some of the logistical planning. This year, Jenni Lehnert, RN and Henry Duvalsaint have really stepped up and taken on the planning, organizing, and logistics.

There is a lot of pressure for us to grow into something bigger, but something bigger is not necessarily more efficient or productive. We have managed to keep the International Extremity Project on a grassroots level. We are all volunteers. We have no paid employees and do all of the management and development outside of our own working hours and time with our families. ~Bruce Lehnert, DPM