Orbis Delivers Sight to a Child in Jamaica

By Jason Baker
Aug 9, 2019 9:05 AM ET
Article

When Trevorn was 8 years old, he found himself in the midst of an absolute living nightmare.

At his primary school in Jamaica, one of his classmates made a catapult that fired a pencil which struck Trevorn without warning, squarely in the eye. After two emergency surgeries the pencil was removed and the lens was replaced, but his vision was severely damaged.

Over the next 6 years Trevorn’s sight diminished and deteriorated. At one point he missed an entire school year. When he eventually returned, he was restricted from participating in many school activities. His grades suffered terribly.

Trevorn’s mother sells fruits and vegetables at the market in Kingston, which is about an hour and a half drive from their home. To keep costs down, occasionally Trevorn’s mom catches rides from friends and family, and one day this ride changed everything for Trevorn and his entire family.

Norton Downy gave her that life-changing ride. Norton is a FedEx Operations Manager in Kingston, and he’s the kind of person who deeply cares for his friends and neighbors. She told Norton about Trevorn’s worsening condition, and about how he needed glasses, but she couldn’t afford to purchase them. She was feeling the desperation of a mother who would do anything to help her ailing child.

That’s when the light bulb went off in Norton’s head. He recalled seeing work emails about an upcoming visit to Jamaica by the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital. This was the perfect solution.

The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital is a mobile teaching hospital that travels the world providing vision-saving eye surgeries and training to local doctors. The procedures are done free of charge by voluntary surgeons, staffed by volunteer nurses, and the plane is even flown by volunteer pilots. FedEx not only donated the plane, but also provides pilots, maintenance, and support through donations and volunteers.

The only problem with Trevorn’s case was that local doctors in Kingston had already pre-selected all the patients for the 3-week visit, and Trevorn hadn’t been present for those preselection screenings.

Trevorn needed a miracle. And thanks to Norton, he got it. Norton became a relentless advocate, navigating through the full patient docket to contact Orbis personnel, driving Trevorn to be evaluated, and waiting patiently while he was treated.

Due to his severe condition, a laser surgery was scheduled on the very same day as his evaluation, and the operation was a complete success. He is now seeing clearly through his eye and was able to return to school just three days after his surgery.

Now, a few weeks later, Trevorn speaks in the highest regard of how comfortable the Orbis staff made him feel and talks constantly about his desire to work for FedEx when he is older.

Orbis staff and volunteers treated over 71 people during their stop in Jamaica. Every single one of them has their own story, and each case is a life completely changed through the kindness of strangers.

More about Orbis and the Flying Eye Hospital:
– Orbis Plane Brings Gift of Sight to a 4-year-old Boy in Mongolia
– Eight Days in China on Board a Flying Eye Hospital
– Virtual Tour of the Flying Eye Hospital