Haitian Amputee Soccer Team in Denver for K of C Convention; Announces Fall U.S. Tour

Aug 01, 2011, 21:46 ET from Knights of Columbus

DENVER, Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Team Zaryen, Port-au-Prince's amputee soccer team, will tour the United States this fall, running soccer clinics for wounded members of the U.S. military and focusing attention on the great strides being made by those with disabilities in Haiti.

The tour will be co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and Project Medishare, who co-founded "Healing Haiti's Children" – a program that has made prosthetics available to every child who lost a limb in last year's earthquake in Port-au-Prince. All of the players on Team Zaryen have received prosthetics courtesy of this program. The earthquake in Haiti last year left thousands of amputees in its wake – many of them children and young adults.

The team and its U.S. tour are some of many positive results to have come from the "Healing Haiti's Children" program. The program makes a multi-year course of prosthetic care and physical therapy available to every child who lost a limb as a result of the earthquake. Included in the rehabilitation is the "Return to Sport" program where Team Zaryen coaches children and youth in this fast-paced sport so that they too can enjoy the fun and excitement of sport and learn to lead normal lives.

The Knights of Columbus have committed more than $1 million to the "Healing Haiti's Children" program through Project Medishare, which runs the premier hospital for amputees in Haiti.

"The Knights of Columbus is honored to be able to be able to help transform the lives of children and young people in Haiti and to bring healing and hope to some of the neediest people in our hemisphere," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. "We are very happy to have the members of Team Zaryen, who have overcome so much, with us at our convention."

"Following the earthquake, there was a tremendous outpouring of support from the people of the United States, much of it coordinated by America's armed forces," said Dr. Bob Gailey, director of rehabilitation services for Project Medishare. "Team Zaryen is now looking to return the favor by running clinics for wounded American service members this fall in the United States, and we are honored to be working together with the Knights of Columbus to assist these young people in Haiti and to be providing these clinics for the U.S. military."

A key reason for forming the soccer team was to change attitudes in Haiti and to help remove the negative stigma associated with being an amputee in Haitian society. The members of Team Zaryen believe their example will prove to the youth of their nation that despite any handicap, there are no limits to what an individual, a team, or a nation can achieve.

Project Medishare for Haiti was founded in 1994 by Drs. Barth Green and Arthur Fournier when they assembled the first team of faculty from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Nursing to assess the health status of Haitians and explore ways of rebuilding their healthcare infrastructure in a long term and meaningful way.

The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest lay Catholic organization, with more than 1.8 million members around the world. Last year they donated more than $154 million to charity and donated more than 70 million volunteer hours to charitable causes.

SOURCE Knights of Columbus