Handreach has gone out of its way to help those in need. When I say need, I should clarify: Handreach reaches out to those in the most desperate of need in the harshest of places. I am a burn survivor who was once in need of assistance with my graduate work. Handreach offered me the opportunity to go to Beijing, China and assist burn survivors learn more about themselves. As it turns out, I wasn't in much need of help at all. I learned that many, MANY of the homeless individuals in Beijing were themselves burn survivors who were unable to find employment due to facial scars or physical infirmity. Handreach's goal is to reach out to these survivors and offer them a second chance to find work, to live, to learn, and to become whole again. The Executive Director, Dr. Brecken Chinn, personally gave me the opportunity to see Chinese burn survivors up close. I was able to assist some of those same survivors to understand that their lives were not at an end, and that they could be successful and happy. I'd like to think that I may have saved a few lives in the process, with an opportunity that only Handreach was able to offer. Furthermore, Handreach also raises funds specifically to help burn survivors (especially pediatric patients) with their surgeries, rehabilitation, and prosthetic limbs. I cannot think of another organization that has truly tried to reach so far, yet which struggles so much to raise funds and further help fulfill it's mission to make sure that best practices in pediatric burn and amputee care and rehabilitation are available around the world, where they are needed most.
I met the Director, Dr. Brecken Swartz, in 2011 and started working with Handreach shortly thereafter. Their work in foreign countries is truly admirable and their idealism and optimism is difficult to beat. Handreach raised the funds to create a Pediatric burn ward in China, which is still one of the top burn wards in that country. The work they do reaching out to some of the world's most in need individuals amazes me and makes me proud to have been able to help out. In fact, I was able to visit the China General Air Force hospital's burn ward in 2012 and see many of the patients that they treated. And though it is a place of suffering (as hospitals tend to be), it was also a place of hope, where the children (and some adults as well) were able to receive help and assistance that they never though would be possible. Burns are a terrible trauma to have to suffer - the short term physical pain leads to long term emotional, social, and economic pain - but these individuals might have otherwise not been treated at all. Being able to use a new technique to give an individual the use of his arms back was the pride of my trip, which would not have been possible without Handreach's help and support.
I only wish I could help more.