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Dr. Dan Ivankovich & Haitian Congress Support Group For Earthquake Patients in Chicago

May 2, 2010

Stephanie Perpignan,  Ruth Ayukesong (DHS), Dr. Ivankovich, Ketlie Acacia (DHS), and Viola D’Haiti inside Kingston Mines blues club

On the evening of Tuesday, March 09 Chicago blues veteran Dan Ivanchovich brought out the guitars at the Kingston Mines blues club, where the National Association of Social Workers (NASW)-Chicago Chapter presented its annual Social Work Leaders awards. This year’s award ceremony also doubled as a fundraiser for victims of Haiti’s January 12th earthquake.

The Croatian born member of Chicago Blues All Stars also serves as an orthopedic trauma surgeon, spine specialist, and humanitarian, who brought his medical services to the aid of the Haitian people in the days following Haiti’s devastating January 12 earthquake. Dr. Ivankovich secured humanitarian visas for two critically injured patients from Haiti to come to the United States for medical treatment. Both patients have undergone surgery and are under the care of Northwestern University’s Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Violette, 52, has sustained spinal cord injury and has not been able to walk since January 12. Suy, a 28 year old computer science major at Port-au-Prince’s Université des Sciences Informatiques, was on the fourth floor of a school facility that fateful afternoon. He too sustained severe spinal cord injury and was unable to walk upon arriving in Chicago. Since beginning treatment, Suy has regained his ability to walk with the help of crutches and walkers. Dr. Ivankovich was awarded Public Citizen of the Year for his efforts.

Haitian Congress board members Ketlie Acacia and Lynne Toussaint have set up a support group to help Violette and Suy cope with their transition and stay here in Chicago. Along with the help of other supporters such as Colette Ascar of Haiti SOS Haiti and fellow Haitian Congress board member Immacula Dieudonné, this team has have provided translation, clothing, prayer, and moral support through their near daily contact with the two patients. The team also helps Violette and Suy keep in touch with family located in Boston and Haiti. While on an assessment mission to Haiti in February, Chairman Lionel Jean-Baptiste had the opportunity to visit with Suy’s family, assuring them that they were in good hands. Proceeds from the event will go in part to support the ongoing care of these Violette, Suy, and their families in Haiti. For more information on Dr. Ivankovich and his work, visit his Bone Squad web site.

Chicago Blues All Stars in action at Kingston Mines