Operation Walk is a volunteer medical organization that provides free surgical treatment for patients in developing countries and in the United States who have no access to life-improving care for arthritis or other debilitating bone and joint conditions. They also educate in-country orthopedic surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and other healthcare professionals on the most advanced treatments and surgical techniques for diseases of the hip and knee joints. This is done in conjunction with surgeries to help create a lasting contribution to patient care in developing countries.
The organization was founded in 1995 by Lawrence D. Dorr, M.D. in Los Angeles, California. He was inspired at the age of 5 to become a surgeon and his passion to take care of others has never wavered. While on a trip to Russia, he realized that he could better teach physicians by demonstrating, rather than describing surgery. He also realized that he could bring surgical skills and healing processes to the poorest of the world’s poor while teaching in-country physicians. Thus originated the idea for Operation Walk. He quickly recruited a team of surgeons, internal medicine doctors, anesthesiologiests, nurses, and physical therapists to join him in a first Operation Walk trip to Havana, Cuba. On this trip, 45 joints were successfully replaced in three days, allowing patients to walk again after many years of immobility. Hip replacements made it possible for one woman to have a child who she named Larry. The team was exhilarated and full of enthusiasm to plan the next Operation Walk. Over the next ten years, Operation Walk teams returned to Cuba six times, helping more than 250 patients. To date, Doctor Dorr’s vision has created fifteen teams across the United States and Canda who collectively have made 100 trips acrossed 20 countries and have restored mobility and independence to over 10,000 patients across the globe.
Each Operation Walk medical professional team consists of 40-45 people, who donate their time on these week-long mission trips. Operation Walk pays for travel, lodging, food, implants, tools, medicines, dressings, gowns, patient hospitalization expenses, and the shipping of all cargo. Your gift will enable Operation Walk’s trained team of health care professionals to return patients with disabling joint disease to a more normal lifestyle. Candidates screened for possible Operation Walk surgery are often confined to a wheel chair, crutches or dependent on someone else just to walk a short distance. The gift of a new hip or knee joint from the Operation Walk team can make a significant difference to those who can’t perform such everyday tasks as walking, climbing stairs, or tying their shoelaces without pain. As part of Operation Walk’s work, they also teach and train local physicians and nurses, leaving a legacy of care throughout the world.
Operation Walk is a miracle...surely for those who never thought they'd walk again and now can, certainly for the foreign physicians and nurses whose newfound skills can help others, but also for our staff and volunteers, who are genuinely and deeply reminded that life's greatest joy is in giving. Thank you for considering Operation Walk during this season of giving. Your donation can help restore the freedom of mobility to those who need it most.