From Yap to Hawaii: Local Honolulu Medical Team up to Gift Prosthetic Eye to 10-year old Micronesian Girl
By Perry Ironhill
HONOLULU November 11, 2018 — Ocularist Doss Tannehill of Pacific Eyes and Dr. John Corboy of Hawaiian Eye Foundation gifted 10-year old girl, Dina Trixie Walmog, with a trip to Honolulu to be fitted with a handmade prosthetic eye.
Trixie is from the remote island of Mogmog in Micronesia, where the total number of inhabitants is about 200 people and where she can walk from one end of the island to the other in 15 minutes. She lives with her mother, father, two siblings in her village, where most everyone is related. She is currently in grade school, but will have to leave her island in a couple years in order to attend high school on neighboring island, Falalop.
When Trixie was two, her left eye was surgically removed due to retinoblastoma (eye cancer). For the last eight years, she’s had a plastic, ill-fitting conformer in the eye, which caused constant irritation and infection. Due to lack of resources, Trixie has lived with this discomfort and deformation for nearly a decade. Her deformity led to constant teasing and bullying, so she had to hide behind sunglasses every day. The Hawaiian Eye Foundation team first met Trixie in May 2018 when volunteers traveled to Yap, Micronesia for one of their ongoing humanitarian eye missions. The Yap State Department of Health coordinated to bring Trixie on the overnight barge from Mogmog to Yap to meet the team.
Dr. Corboy examined Trixie’s left socket and good right eye. He knew that if Trixie lived in the USA, she would have already had a prosthetic eye and a way to look and feel normal. He felt in his heart that he had to go the extra mile to help. He called his old friend, Honolulu-based Ocularist, Doss Tannehill, who gladly volunteered to provide his renowned services for free.
This week, Trixie and her mother received their passports with support from the Yap State Department of Health and flew to Honolulu where a prosthetic eye was molded, fitted and painted to suite Trixie’s condition and to match her good eye as best as possible. This new eye was custom-made for her, and she was given a back-up eye (also donated by Ocularist Tannehill) so that she would never have to be without a quality, clean, well-fit piece again.
There are no ophthalmologists in Yap, let alone ocularists, so getting a top-of-the-line prosthetic eye made by Tannehill was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thanks to the generosity of Ocularist Tannehill who donated his time and materials, coordination by the Yap State Department of Health, and Dr. Corboy with his Hawaiian Eye Foundation funding and hosting her travel and accommodations, including her first trip to the zoo. Her favorite animals: the parrot, lion and crocodile, which she isn’t afraid of. Trixie returns home tomorrow with regained confidence and the motivation to thrive. Trixie dreams of one day returning to Hawai’i for university to become an eye doctor. The sky is the limit for this strong, clever, brave girl!
If you are moved by this story, Hawaiian Eye Foundation humbly asks for your financial support to continue to provide life-changing services to needy patients like Trixie. Since 2017, the Hawaiian Eye Foundation has worked with the Yap Memorial Hospital to establish an eye care program and sustainable clinic to serve all of Micronesia. Please visit www. HawaiianEyeFoundation.org to learn more about our eye care training and services in Yap, or for volunteer opportunities. We thank you for donating toward our efforts to ensure that eye care is available to all.
About Pacific Eyes:
Pacific Eyes, led by Ocularist Doss Tannehill, is a second generation ocularist practice that has been providing ocular prosthetic services to the Pacific Rim from Honolulu, Hawaii since 1958. Their ocular prostheses are custom-made with a handcrafted fitting process that results in a unique, one of a kind ocular prosthesis. www.PacificEyes.net
About Hawaiian Eye Foundation:
Hawaiian Eye Foundation is a non-governmental organization dedicated to providing quality, compassionate eye care to people in remote island villages and underserved countries throughout the world. Founded by Dr. John Corboy in Mililani, HI in 1984, the non-profit is committed to longterm health partnerships through the training of local medical professionals and the establishment of self-sustainable clinics. For volunteer opportunities or to make a donation visit www.HawaiianEyeFoundation.org.