Doctors, Officials Pull Together to Help Haitian Toddler

Doctors, government officials, church all pitched in to help 18-month-old

Doctors in Northwest Indiana are on a life-saving mission to help a little Haitian toddler who has suffered from painful urological infections since the start of her young life.

For Marie Lusette Celestine and her daughter, the final steps into Munster's Community Hospital are the last of a long journey from Haiti, where the 18-month-old lost her father in the massive earthquake earlier this year.

Eighteen-month-old Rose Daphcar Calixte has a congenital urological problem, and the infections caused by it are often so painful that they prevent the young girl from sleeping at night.

Through a translator, Celestine expressed gratitude for the help her daughter will finally be getting from the American doctors.

"Haiti is her home. She likes Haiti, but she's been treated so nicely her. She loves to be here," she said.

Members of Pastor David Allen's Family Christian Center first met the pair on a mission trip following the January 12 earthquake.

"Her family brought her every day and asked us to 'please fix my child,'" Dr. Russell Pellar was quoted in the Northwest Indiana Times as saying.

The family's plight came to the attention of U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who helped obtain passports for the pair.

"It is so exciting for us to see that the struggle is now going to come to a reality where this baby is going to get help, and to us, it's worth it," said Allen.

Peller and his wife, Ann, have been hosting the girl and her mother at the couple's Shererville home. They'll remain there until she's fully recovered.

"At first they came with a lot of fear and they hugged each other and they didn't come out. Yesterday, the baby's playing with Ann in the kitchen, the mom was helping with the dishes. And she's laughing at them playing," Peller said.

He said Thursday's surgery is complex and was expected to last about four hours, but was confident Rose's condition could be treated.

"The good thing is that it's a fixable problem, and it's nothing that's too big to handle, but something I think we can send her home to live a normal life," Peller said.

The surgeons, one of whom is a specialist from the University of Chicago, are all donating their time.

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