This Sunday, October 3, MATTER will be hosting a benefit concert to launch the LEEP project for the Victoria Falls Hospital in Zimbabwe. LEEP is the acronym for a medical procedure called Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure. Though the name is a bit of a tongue-twister and sounds rather complicated, the LEEP procedure is actually quite simple and straightforward. Performed in an outpatient setting, the procedure allows a physician to safely remove potentially cancerous lesions from the cervix before they become malignant.
It’s a common procedure in many parts of the world, including the United States, and has saved countless lives worldwide. In countries like Zimbabwe, however, the procedure is rare. So rare, in fact, that Zimbabwe has only one hospital in its entire country that has the equipment and trained physician to do the procedure. The tragedy is that cervical cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in Zimbabwe. If the LEEP procedure was more available, the cervical cancer rates would go down and more lives would be saved.
When MATTER received a call several months ago from Dr. Mike Jeans, a physician at the Victoria Falls Hospital in Zimbabwe and MATTER’s Medical Director for Projects, asking if MATTER could help procure a LEEP System for his hospital, we were only too happy to help make it happen.
Knowing how urgent the need is, our global projects team immediately got to work. Dr. Mike provided them with a list of everything needed for a complete LEEP System. With none of the specific equipment and parts on hand in our warehouse, it fell to Katie Johnson at MATTER to find the items to procure. This was no easy task. Early on, Katie ran into her biggest obstacle.
“As I started looking for the various supplies, I was finding that most were single-use. While that’s what physicians here in the United States want, it’s not practical for places like the Victoria Falls Hospital. They need supplies that can be sterilized and reused. I was having a tough time finding exactly what they needed.”
Undeterred, Katie continued scouring the internet for medical manufacturers and wholesalers that sold reusable LEEP supplies. Her persistence paid off when she found Millennium Surgical Instruments. They had everything she was looking for except one item.
“In talking with Millennium Surgical about the problem, they agreed to manufacture that item for us and make it part of their inventory. I was thrilled! Each item can be reused and sterilized up to ten times. And with it being in their inventory, we can order more as needed. They really came through for us in a big way!”
When Katie told Dr. Mike about the collaboration with Millennium Surgical Instruments, he was overcome with emotion.
“This LEEP procedure will save so many lives. We already have a physician on staff who is trained in how to do the procedure, so as soon as the system arrives, we can start using it. The impact will be immediate and profound. This is just one more example of how MATTER has been an incredible force for good in a place where there has been a lot of despair, very little hope and a lot of suffering. I’m so thankful to be part of an organization that is so passionate and so effective in what they do.”
This Sunday’s benefit concert at Leopold’s Mississippi Gardens will launch the LEEP Project for the Victoria Falls Hospital. With the equipment and supplies already procured, we’re inviting you to partner with us to fund this system they so desperately need.
The concert will begin at 2 pm and feature the funky soul stylings of The Good, The Bad and The Funky. Set along the banks of the scenic Mississippi, you’ll also enjoy delicious food, outdoor yard games and incredible auction items you don’t want to miss. Best of all, you’ll be helping to save the lives of women in Zimbabwe.
Register now to join us this Sunday, October 3, at Leopold’s Mississippi Gardens. We’ll see you there!