Word of Mouth

My wish is that every child we send home returns to their respective country happy healthy and healed. We separate at the airport with hugs and kisses and tears, but know that our journey together is not over. In the past I’ve mentioned that these sweet children go back as little ambassadors. They tell their town, their village, how wonderful the American people are. About the love and care they received here. Word gets around about the work we at GMRF do and amazingly it helps us continue our mission. Word of Mouth helps us identify more kids in need of our help.


Recently, our precious Chantal arrived from Rwanda for surgery to repair a badly infected wound caused by an untreated compound fracture. All our children travel with a guardian, often a mother or relative. Chantal’s guardian was Consolee, a dedicated hospital employee where Chantal had been treated in Rwanda. Consolee has become our ambassador and liaison in Rwanda. Thanks to Consolee and GMRF’s efforts, four children will be arriving at the GMRF’s “Dare to Dream” house on September 15th. As you’ll notice, there are two 16 year-old Josaine’s coming. That should be fun!

  • Emmanuel was riding his bicycle behind a truck when it stopped short. He was thrown off his bicycle, the truck rolled back and struck his leg. A motorcyclist that had witnessed the accident picked Emmanuel up and took him to a nearby hospital. Unfortunately the leg could not be saved and they were forced to amputate.

  • Five year-old Alice was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, a rare infection of the bone. Serious cases such as hers can require surgery to remove the infected tissue and bone. Unfortunately Alice needed to have her right leg amputated above the knee to prevent the infection from spreading further.

  • Josaine I’s left leg was amputated above the knee after a tumor was found in that leg.

  • Josaine U’s lost her right leg after an untreated infection.

We already know the children are in need of prosthetics. Upon evaluation at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia the doctors will determine if surgery is needed as well, which can often be the case. There will be weeks, if not months, of physical therapy as they learn to walk on their new legs.

The Dare to Dream House will be full because we will also have 14 year-old Larmont coming to us from Ethiopia. Larmont was brought to our attention by Dr. Scott Kozin, chief of staff at Shriners Hospital for Children – Philadelphia. Dr. Kozin met Larmont while doing mission work in Ethiopia. She sadly was also diagnosed with osteomyelitis and will be having surgery on her shoulder to remove the infected tissue and bone.

So tell their story, share what we do here at GMRF, and perhaps through Word of Mouth you, too, will help save a child.


Tanzanian kids with albinism come for care to Global Medical Relief Fund

Tanzanian kids with albinism come for care to Global Medical Relief Fund

Emmanuel Festo, 16, Mwigulu Matonange, 12, Kabula Nkalango, 18, Baraka Cosmas Rusambo, 6, Pendo Sengerema, 16



Monday was an emotional day as we welcomed five amputee children with albinism from Tanzania. We could not have done this without the help of many volunteers, specially the staff and Directors of Under the Same Sun.
Special thanks to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at JFK International Airport, for their ongoing support in assisting our children and their families get through the immigration process with ease.

To find out more about our latest group of children please read this article on Staten Island Advance.

Make a Mark. Make a Difference… – America’s youth steps up to the task

Make a Mark. Make a Difference…

Gaynor McCown Expeditionary School Volunteers

Gaynor McCown Expeditionary School Volunteers



Today we had the honor to host the students (Ahmed, Angela, Amanda, Armaria, Brian, Brianna, Folashade, Hamza, Izabella, Kyringue, Patience, Princess, Ms. McAlman and Ms. Labisi) from . It was a day filled with laughter, excitement and service at the Dare to Dream home. While some students were playing with Hengel, our 8 year-old from Nicaragua, others were preparing boxes of clothing for our little Andi in Swaziland and a few more planning the first ever 5K to benefit the Global Medical Relief Fund!Nothing better than having our community children help and reach out to help other children around the world. We would like to thank the Nicotra Foundation for enabling us to create programs that allows Children Help Children… Youth Philanthropy as is best!

Pujan walks again!!!

Pujan walks again!!!

Pujan walks for the first time, using his new prosthetic leg.



Pujan from Nepal lost his leg two years ago during a bus accident and has been unable to walk without assistance or crutches since. He arrived at our Dare to Dream home in October of 2014 and has been going through several surgeries, rehabilitation and hospital stays for the last five months. Pujan has shared laughs and tears with our other children here from Kenya, Arkansas, Swaziland and Ecuador.
Today we are excited to share that he was able to walk again by himself! As he walked during rehabilitation at the Shriners Hospital for Children his face lit-up with joy and relief. We are so proud of you Pujan for being so courages and persistent to walk again.
As always, we are so grateful to our partners-in-effort, the Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia and our donors for making our mission possible, one child at a time…


A bit of warmth from Swaziland, Africa

A bit of warmth from Swaziland, Africa

Andi waving goodbye for now.


Just four months ago, our Executive Director, Elissa Montanti received a desperate plea to help an infant “Baby Shirley.”Janine Maxwell, Co-founder of Heart of Africa wrote, “Baby Shirley’s mother dumped her in a pit latrine at birth and then dumped fire in on top of her to make sure she died. She has burns so severe to her face that she can’t breathe well and gets infections easily, putting her very life at risk… nothing can be done in Swaziland.”Immediately, Elissa reached out to Dr. David Hoffman from Staten Island University Hospital, whom without hesitation Dr. David Hoffman agreed to help baby Shirley. He recruited Drs. Michael Cooper and Arthur Buonaspina.
On December 15th, Shirley received her life saving surgery to open her nostrils and skin grafts on her right cheek as well as the release of her left index finger.Fast forward, four months of occupational therapy and care, Shirley returned home to Swaziland on March 30th. She will be deeply missed by all at GMRF and the Staten Island community. The love and kindness she received from our community was nothing shy of a miracle.We are looking forward to welcoming her back as soon as she is ready for follow-up care.On her behalf, Heart for Africa’s and all of us at GMRF, we thank all our partners-in-effort and our donors for allowing us to continue with GMRF’s mission.

Every Little Bit Helps… 
More on Andi leaving:

Staten Island Advance,  March 2015 Article

Global Medical Relief Fund saved my sanity…

Global Medical Relief Fund saved my sanity…

Phillip from St. Louis MO


“Global Medical Relief Fund saved my sanity. My son Phillip was injured at birth and needed a seven hour life changing surgery in Pennsylvania. GMRF stepped in after hearing of Phillip’s story and took us by storm. Every single need was met. The flight to the best Brachial Plexus Doctor, food, lodging , and transportation. I could not believe someone was so willing and joyful to help us! I didn’t think it was real at first. But it was and is! They have extended their hand for future help with appointments to Pennsylvania!  I couldn’t be more appreciative and relieved!  My son was able to receive some of the best medical care and was able to make it to and from safely. There isn’t a word big enough to the GMRF team for support and wonderful mannerisms that made me still feel human. Thank you so much!  Words could never express my gratitude!”

~Janata Kneemiller-Cleveland & Baby Phillip



Thanks to our donors and partners-in-effort, especially the Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, we are able to change the lives of children like Phillip.

Meet Andiswa – 2 month old burn victim from Swaziland

Meet Andiswa – 2 month old burn victim from Swaziland

Andiswa from Swaziland arriving to USA

Andiswa from Swaziland arriving to USA

This is a very special time for all of us at GMRF! For the first time in the 17 years of our mission, we welcomed our first two month-old baby.

Baby Andiswa was brought to our attention by our friends at Heart for Africa, a charity whose mission is to provide care and hope for the children of Swaziland. Both organizations were introduced by Mr. John A. Bardis, CEO of MedAssets, when our Founder, Elissa Montanti, became the proud recipient of the 2012 Norman Borlaug Humanitarian award which honors individuals who have exhibited extraordinary behavior in helping others and making a difference in the world.  Janine Maxwell, co-founder of Heart for Africa, was honored in 2011.

As we reflect on baby Andiswa’s tragedy, we also remind ourselves of the miracle she is and has become to all of us. 

On her behalf, Heart for Africa’s and all of us at GMRF, we thank all our partners-in-effort and our donors for allowing us to continue with GMRF’s mission.

Every Little Bit Helps…


More about her story:

Blog by Janine Maxwell, Director of Heart of Africa

Staten Island Advance,  December 2014 Article

Meet Sarki from Nepal

Meet Sarki – 10 year old burn victim from Nepal

Sarki during her first visit with Dr. Kozin at Shriners Hospital for children

Sarki during her first visit with Dr. Kozin at Shriners Hospital for children

Meet our precious Sarki! Sarki is from the Himalaya region, approximately 8,000 feet above sea level.  Sarki and her parents, along with her five siblings, live in a single-room hut in a remote area of Nepal. From the city of Kathmandu, the mountain where Sarki and her family reside is an eight hour trip by car and then a six hour walk.  

When Sarki was two years old, she stumbled into the family’s fire-burning stove during the night.  Due to extreme hunger, she was restless and unable to sleep.  Her father was out tending to sheep and her mother, being deaf, did not hear her cry.  The accident left Sarki with severely burned hands, especially her right one.

Thanks to a network of organizations and our donors, now ten-year-old Sarki and her guardian arrived at the “Dare to Dream” house on August 31st.  She will be in our care through this six month life changing journey as she receives treatment for her burns at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.  Sarki has undergone successful surgery on September 9th, 2014 and she is eager to begin using both of her hands again.

Meet Aldrin – 6 Year old amputee, victim of Typhoon Haiyan

Meet Aldrin – 6 Year old amputee, victim of Typhoon Haiyan

Young Aldrin Tadic, age 6, has arrived from the Philippines for medical treatment and his new leg. During the November, 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, his home city Tacloban was the “hardest hit” according to the Philippines News Agency. He lost his left leg when he was hit by a flying piece of metal. Thousands were reported killed as the storm — described as “one of the world’s most powerful typhoons” — slammed into the Philippine Island nation. As many as 10,000 people are believed to have died just in the city of Tacloban, alone, where entire streets, including homes, schools and businesses, were wiped out. The storm produced wind gusts as high as 230 M.P.H. At least one large ship was washed ashore in Tacloban by strong waves. GMRF has arranged for Aldrin, accompanied by his mother, to come to the United States for medical evaluation and treatment for a prosthetic leg by our partners-in-effort, the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Philadelphia. Aldrin and his mother have become the newest members of the GMRF family to arrive to our “Dare To Dream House.”