Huntsville surgeon Dr. Hector Roldan has long held a desire to give back to his country of birth, Guatemala.
Dr. Roldan founded a charity organization, which became a registered non-profit in 2014, with his long-time friend and Guatemalan engineer, Juan Vasquez, who shares a similar passion and desire to help the citizens of Guatemala.
They have been joined in their effort by local dentist, Dr. Adrian Musters, and other Huntsville-based volunteers including Anna Roldan, Marlon Roldan, Andy Roldan, Annie Dubé, Connor F. Thompson, Bruce Templeton, and Kristen Szykoluk.
“As a medical student and later as a licensed physician, I was exposed to some of the deficiencies in the healthcare system as well as some of the shortcomings of the Guatemalan government,” says Dr. Roldan. “In my experience I have come to realize a large percentage of the help that Guatemala receives gets lost due to bureaucracy, administration cost, and corruption in addition to lack of leadership. So the target population does not get the full benefit.”
Their goal is to create a facility in rural Guatemala that will provide a dental clinic (phase one), healthcare, education, a place of worship, and food security.
To date they have acquired the land, completed site preparation, and built the dental clinic structure, and have begun fundraising—with a goal of $15,000—to complete the clinic, which they hope will begin taking patients in the spring of 2021.
Among the things that still need to be completed are: connecting water systems and installing filtration, installing wastewater removal, connecting to the electrical grid, installing washrooms, and completing finishing touches to the clinic rooms.
Additional buildings will be added as funding permits.
Huntsville dentist Dr. Adrian Musters has contributed his expertise on dental health, and has also been helping to fundraise.
“I have always thought that giving back to your local community is very important. My senior shinny 55-plus hockey team has generously donated their cancelled ice time to the cause,” says Musters. “Because of COVID we were forced to give up our last five skates of 2020. We put a positive spin on that by donating the cost of the ice time to the Guatemala project! Almost $1,500 from our team alone. I would like to challenge all of the other hockey teams in town to consider a donation as well.”
Dr. Musters says that the team will work with the local dental university to bring in students in dentistry, hygiene, and administration in order to serve the local community.
They also plan to organize trips for foreign dentists from Canada and the U.S. to work and teach at the clinic.
“Through my placement [at Huntsville Hospital], I met Dr. Roldan who introduced me to the project,” says third-year medical student Annie Dubé. “I was instantly impressed by the amount of work their small team has accomplished and inspired by their commitment to helping under-serviced communities. Dr. Roldan explained to me they needed more funds to finalize the dental clinic. I felt the community should be aware of this fantastic initiative and knew we could come together to help raise the funds they needed!”
A GoFundMe campaign has just launched and the team is hoping that Huntsville residents will help make this dream a reality.
To learn more and to dontate, visit the fundraising page here.
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