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Breakfast to benefit Rotoplast mission

Going out for Sunday breakfast is a tradition in many households across the Yakima Valley, and Sunday, March 6, people will have a chance to use their weekly tradition to help others.

Sunday, March 6, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. the Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club will be hosting a pancake breakfast at the Masonic Temple at the corner of Sixth Street and Harrison Avenue. Proceeds from the breakfast, which costs $5 per person or $15 for a family of four, will go to help pay for the coming Rotoplast mission to Guatemala.

This year the Sunnyside club pledged $1,500 to help pay for the trip, which includes sending a group of 30 people, among them surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians and nurses, to Guatemala City for nearly two weeks.

Tom Lathen, the local Rotarian who will be traveling with the Rotoplast group, said while in South America they will perform cleft pallet and cleft lip surgeries on local children who wouldn't otherwise have access to this type of medical procedure. Lathen, who has taken part in two other Rotoplast trips, said while there the group also looks at other children with unique medical conditions, noting that last time he went surgeons performed a procedure on a young boy, removing a large tumor from his arm.

Lathen added that this year when the group goes to Guatemala in April they are also planning on bringing a Spanish speaking speech therapist along to help children after their surgeries.

Attending the March 6 breakfast is just one way to support the Rotoplast mission. Lathen said there are other ways people can help.

Lathen said those taking part in the Rotoplast trip are currently seeking donations of stuffed animals and small blankets, both of which are given to the children seen by the medical group.

The stuffed animals are given to both children who undergo surgery and those who do not. Lathen said the stuffed animals help comfort those going through the medical procedure, and those who are saddened because they can not undergo surgery.

"Each Rotarian who goes on a trip stuffs his bag full of these kinds of items and takes just enough clothes to get by," Lathen explained.

He said the small blankets are also brought by Rotarians, stuffed into every crevice of their suitcase as they get ready to leave the country. Lathen said the blankets are wrapped around every child after surgery.

"If we could generate 10 (blankets) out of the Lower Valley I would be thrilled," Lathen said.

The donations of stuffed animals and blankets can be dropped off at the March 6 breakfast.

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