If you've been keeping up with the mission, you're likely familiar with Dallen. Years ago, Dallen was in an electrical accident, which left him badly injured. The burns destroyed his nose, and he shortly dropped out of school and withdrew to his house on Majuro, Marshall Islands.
Back in the US, we were looking for a surgeon for one of our ENT missions to Majuro. We had one applicant who had applied seven years before whom we had never called on to volunteer. Canvasback's Executive Vice President, Jacque Spence, called him up: "Hello, this is Jacque Spence from Canvasback Missions."
Dr. Tal Dagan answered, "I've been waiting for your call."
After years of waiting, Dr. Dagan immediately agreed to serve on our 2014 ENT mission. While there, he crossed paths with Dallen. He immediately knew what he would do.
Dr. Dagan started planning a restorative facial surgery for Dallen. The next year, everything came together, and Dallen spent a few months in New York for his surgery and recovery.
It took many volunteers, donors, and hosts to make it happen, but Dallen was provided with food, housing, his procedures, tutoring, clothes, and more during his event. His restorative procedures went well. Dallen returned to Majuro, where he was sponsored to attend one of the top private schools on island.
The mission, Dallen, and everyone who became connected to Dallen through this work were ecstatic! After years of suffering, we were able to change this boy's life at a number of levels.
Unfortunately, there are fewer medical specialists on Majuro. Dallen recently developed a minor, recurring infection, and we were notified immediately. We were worried—what went wrong? Would the infection spread? How soon could we have Dallen return to get care?
We felt God led us to work with Dallen, and we returned to God with these new trials. We immediately began figuring out the logistics for a corrective procedure. We needed a place to perform the surgery and a surgeon and team to carry it out. We needed sponsorship to afford flights for him and his mother to New York. Once there, we still had to figure out a way to cover expensive New York room and board, as well as transportation around the city.
Within weeks, Dr. Dagan let us know that New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mt. Sinai would once again host Dallen for his surgery and post-op care. Due to the value of such a donation, this is the most difficult need to fulfill. Dr. Dagan would lead the surgery again, so this need was also met.
The Marshall Islands Ministry of Health then let us know they would cover the cost of the flights—a huge expense—overcoming yet another one of our challenges. On top of that, they—and some generous donors—are providing money to cover some of the expensive food and transportation costs to occur in New York.
As for rooming, the Ronald McDonald House announced it set aside a room for Dallen and his mom! And with that, the major steps to making this surgery were taken care of!
We feel that God answered prayer after prayer in order to make this surgery happen. Dallen and his mom are safely in New York, right now, planning for the surgery and post-op care.
Once again, the community rallied around Dallen to show him love and give him the care he needs. We are so blessed to have Dallen in our lives, and we can't wait to see him grow up into a strong young leader on Majuro.