Category: Uncategorized

Run for the Children: Luang Prabang Half Marathon

More than a thousand runners are expected to participate in the 2018 Run for the Children: Luang Prabang Half Marathon, which will take place on Sunday, Oct. 21 — and joining them will be a member of England’s royal family.


Princess Beatrice of York plans to run in the event. She is a granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II and a philanthropist who supports charities related to child welfare and education. She is an avid runner and the first in the royal family to compete in a marathon.

All proceeds from the event support the Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

Last year, the half-marathon attracted more than 1,200 runners from 42 countries.

Registration for the race and information about the event are available here.

Friends Earns 2 Top Awards for Financial Efficiency

Charity Navigator and GuideStar, two organizations that assess the financial performance of nonprofits, have each given their highest rating to Friends Without A Border.

Charity Navigator, an independent watchdog of U.S.-based charities, awarded Friends a 4-star rating for “demonstrating strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.” Four stars is the highest rating a nonprofit can achieve.

This is the third consecutive year that Friends has attained the 4-star rating.

“Only 22% of the charities we evaluate have received at least three consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Friends Without A Border exceeds industry standards and outperforms most other charities in America,” wrote Charity Navigator President and CEO Michael Thatcher in a May 1 letter to Friends.

“This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets Friends Without A Border apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness.”

Guidestar, the world’s largest source of information about nonprofits, awarded its 2018 Platinum Seal of Transparency on April 20 to Friends Without A Border. Platinum is the highest level of recognition offered by GuideStar.

The Platinum Seal means that Friends Without A Border has demonstrated that it is focused on measuring progress and results. It also means that millions of people will be able to see information about Friends Without A Border on the GuideStar website and its network of more than 230 websites and applications.

GuideStar states that its website receives 9 million visitors each year.

NY Gala Embraces ‘Making A Difference’ Theme

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to the more than 300 people who filled the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan last night (April 5) for the 16th Annual New York Gala and made the event a smashing success.

The fundraising event grossed more than $465,000.

Friends Without A Border Founder Kenro Izu and Board of Directors Chairman Matthew Magenheim made two presentations during the gala: the Excellence in Corporate Leadership Award to Mastercard Chief Financial Officer Martina Hund-Mejean and the Best Friend of Friends Award to longtime Board Member and former Chairman Michael Stern. Congratulations to both!

Kenro Izu thanks gala attendees for their generous support.

Gala attendees heard a first-person account of the incredible work performed by the doctors, nurses and staff at Lao Friends Hospital for Children by Dr. Eric Fleegler, who recently volunteered at the hospital in Luang Prabang. Dr. Fleegler is an emergency medicine physician at Boston Children’s Hospital and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

Nicole Pagourgis describes the ways that Friends Without A Border is “Making A Difference.”

Attendees also viewed “Story of Thongsy,” a video that offers a look at the amazing work being performed by the doctors, nurses and staff at LFHC.

Executive Director Nicole Pagourgis provided an overview of new developments at LFHC and thanked the crowd for “making a difference” with their continues support.

Mastercard Chief Financial Officer Martina Hund-Mejean.
Board of Directors Member and former Chairman Michael Stern.


Dealing with the Complexities of Neonatal Care

Our Neonatal doctors and nurses not only treat a growing number of newborn infants, but also handle extremely complex cases. Consider the case of Airnoy Touy.

She was only eight hours old when her parents rushed her to LFHC. She was born with gastroschisis, a condition in which an infant’s intestine and sometimes other stomach contents grow on the outside of its tiny body.

The chances of an infant surviving this condition in northern Laos were nil – until the opening of our Neonatal Unit. Our doctors and their colleagues at the adjacent provincial hospital have now successfully treated five infants with gastroschisis.

During the operation on Airnoy Touy, the surgeons placed a sterile glove over her intestines and secured it in place with one of our staff member’s rubber bracelets. They then hung the glove above the baby, waiting for the intestines’ swelling to decrease so they will gradually move back into the abdomen. Of course, this was a new procedure and there was some trial and error as our staff tried to make do with what they had in the absence of the technology available in a developed country.

The tiny patient required intravenous infusions of glucose, sodium and potassium and morphine for pain management. Nutrition was a big challenge as she was unable to breastfeed. The staff obtained artificial nutrition to give to her intravenously. Over the course of her admission she required several operations to replace the glove and slowly reduce her bowel.

Airnoy Touy proved to be a true fighter, with her will to live and endless love from her parents. From the lows of further operations to the highs of her first breastfeed, she was a neonate who truly found her way into the hearts of the staff that cared for her. She was discharged after two months in hospital.

From Happiness to Agony back to Happiness…

Published on Jan. 9, 2018, on LinkedIn

By Stefan Sjöström, Microsoft Vice President for the Public Sector Asia

This is a personal story that I am compelled to share with you as it has many aspects of humanity, sadness and happiness all put into one.

Over the past three weeks my wife and I had the privilege to spend time in Laos and as part of a “give back to the community effort (this was our fourth trip). We brought children’s clothes that kind supporters across Singapore provided and on location we supported the local merchants to provide more cloths, fruits (read C-vitamins) writing books, pens, pencils. In fact, we had previously donated a cinema for the common room in a Hmong Village and had the opportunity to bring music and musical instruments to those in need. This year we added a surface device packed with off-line Khan Academy for self-learning purposes.

We covered many of the 39 minorities in Laos and enjoyed their hospitality, trekking, home stay not to mention their Lao-Lao (home brewed whisky). The Akha, Khmu, Hmong amongst others are terrific people living their lives peacefully in their villages according to their traditions. You should visit!

As we wandered through waterfalls on our second last day of the trek we arrived at a shared Khmu and Hmong village and we did our usual sharing of writing books, pens and pencils. As we were about to go on our last trek, we were brought to see a two-year-old boy that was in tremendous agony.

Their (his) home was smoke filled driven by an open fire, no electricity and three of the elderly women were all doing their best to clean up a rather substantial burn. Apparently, the boy had boiling water all over his body and after three days of “Shaman” calling upon spirits coupled with local treatments with local aids, he clearly was in a very bad shape.

We were lucky to gain the villagers support to take the boy to a hospital. The journey started with the local village truck with the mother, father and child along with some locals sitting on the open back of the truck driving down the gravel road for about an hour until we met up with our organized van from the trek. We then spent three hours to Luang Prabang to reach the nearest hospital (the Military one) only to learn that there was in fact a children’s hospital nearby. The guide did not know, nor did the local driver…

When we arrived at LAO FRIENDS HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN; FRIENDS WITHOUT A BORDER, the hospital staff provided immediate assistance and relieved the pain with Morphine. Dr Indi informed us that the boy has 17% of his body severely burned but that he will be fully recovered after two to three weeks treatment. He also mentioned that given the conditions of bringing him in after three days was helpful albeit at risk, but luckly he was not infected. Had he stayed in local treatment, who knows what will have happened, but infections would clearly not be ruled out.

The staff at the hospital are truly angels and their efforts should not go un noticed. A very charming Nurse from Australia (at her final stage to qualify as a doctor) who reassured us at first that “our boy” will be fine is volunteering as many others do at the hospital. These people are incredible to give up time of their lives as otherwise highly paid professionals to provide care for free to the children of Laos. I have huge admiration for their efforts passion and commitment to keep children healthy and happy. They are a set of angels…

In my almost 64 years of life, I have made quite a few donations but never asked anyone else to. This is a rare situation and if you have it within you to share something no matter how small to how you can help, please visit or simply email

We were privileged to find ourselves in a situation where we could add some sunshine to this family. We made sure our boy, Hapor Ya, will be taken home with his parents in a short while and their family has been taken care of while they await the progress of Harpor Ya. Haper Ya will return in a Spiderman’s outfit.

I produced a short video of how the morning started and the journey to the and the final ending at the hospital and I hope you can get some idea of what was going on…

A small donation can save another life, so don’t delay, do it today.

I hope this resonates with you! Also, please feel free to share the story…

All the best,


April Newsletter



New York Gala
Thursday, April 5, 2018.

Los Angeles Event
Wednesday, May 23, 2018.

NursesLFHC has a need for volunteer nurses in May and June. If you know someone who might be interested in volunteering, please refer them to our website for more information.

Dealing with Complexities of Neonatal Care

   Our neonatal doctors and nurses not only treat a growing number of newborn infants, but also handle extremely complex cases.

   Consider the case of Airnoy Touy. Her parents rushed her to LFHC when she was only eight hours old because she had been born with gastroschisis, a condition in which an infant’s intestines and portions of the stomach grow outside of its tiny body. During Airnoy’s operation, surgeons used a medical glove to encase and protect her intestines. Over the course of her admission, Airnoy required several operations to replace the glove and allow her intestines to gradually move into her body. She was discharged after two months in hospital.

LFHC remains the only hospital in northern Laos to treat and care for neonates with gastroschisis. Until now, local medical poviders had no choice but to send these babies home to die. This is a huge testament to our hospital’s commitment to give every child-patient a chance at survival. Airnoy Touy is one of five babies with gastroschisis who have been treated at LFHC. Click here to read more.

LFHC Child Life Therapist Wins International Scholarship Award

Child Life Therapist Kongmeng Sialee has been developing therapeutic techniques to help young children cope with hospitalization, which can be an emotionally difficult and sometimes traumatic experience.

Kongmeng’s work is now being recognized internationally. He has been selected as the 2018 winner of the International Scholarship Recipient Award by the Association of Child Life Professionals. He will receive the honor in May at the USA Child Life Conference in Washington D.C.

Kongmeng’s work enables children to better understand their treatment and diagnosis through explanations given to them through the use of play. Kongmeng has been an invaluable member of the LFHC team. We are very proud of all that he has achieved and grateful for all the work he has done!

Nutrition Team Wages Fight Against Malnutrition

Lao PDR has one of the highest rates of stunted growth in the world at more than 40 percent of children five years old or younger. It also has one of the highest rates of acute malnutrition at more than 5 percent of that age group. To help reduce the incidence of infant mortality and morbidity, our nutrition team embarked on an effort to screen all patients for acute malnutrition and take necessary steps to address the issue.

All newly admitted hospital patients are being assessed by our nutrition team. The team also consults with doctors on such matters as breastfeeding and maternal diets. Furthermore, to help reduce the incidence of Beriberi, we have participated in community outreach activities aimed at fostering balanced maternal diets during pregnancy and lactation.

Staff Trains Midwife Students in Neonatal Care

LFHC recently welcomed its first group of midwifery students to the hospital for training in the care of neonates. The students are in their third year of study and are working with the nursing staff in the Neonatal Unit, Outpatient Department and Emergency Room to learn about caring for newborn infants and educating mothers and families.

As part of their assessment at LFHC, our Lao nurse educator tests them on neonatal resuscitation, patient care and family education. It has been a shared learning experience for LFHC because the midwives have specific training and knowledge on teaching mothers how to breastfeed and communicating with the mothers on the importance of breastfeeding.

Also Noteworthy

Collaboration with AHC

Dr. Xay Her and Physiotherapist Lah recently visited Angkor Hospital for Children to learn more about that hospital’s developmental screening program. Dr. Xay Her worked with AHC doctors to better understand the techniques of assessing and treating children with developmental delays. Lah focused on the process of creating physiotherapy plans. Lah also spent time with a speech therapist volunteer to learn about tongue and speech exercises for children. It’s great to see the continued collaboration between AHC and LFHC!

Clowning Around

Patients recently enjoyed a fun and quirky afternoon when a clown visited LFHC’s Outpatient Department. She created tin foil dolls, handed out balloons and played games with the children. Even the staff enjoyed her company!



Support from Lao Upstate New York

LAO Upstate New York recently hosted its inaugural event and fundraiser, benefiting Legacies of War and Friends Without A Border. The event was a great success, in which the organization’s goals were met. Thank you LAO Upstate New York!

Doctors Perform First Cleft-Lip Surgeries at LFHC

Until now, LFHC could do little to help children born with cleft lips and cleft palates.

Last month, however, 13 children came to the hospital for our first pre-op clinic for those with the birth defect. Eight of the children subsequently underwent surgery at our hospital.

These life-altering surgeries were made possible by the arrival of Dr. Kihwan Han, a plastic surgeon from Korea who received training in the procedures at Harvard University.

During the first surgery, the wide diversity of cultural backgrounds in the room became quickly apparent as we counted the number of languages spoken: English, Thai, Korean, French, Lao, Hmong and Khmu. As is the nature of surgery, teamwork and a collective focus overcame any language barriers and the surgery proceeded with ease.

Cleft lip and cleft palate surgery is important for a variety of reasons.

The birth defects can appear unsightly and have a detrimental social effect on both the child and the child’s family. They also can lead to developmental delays as the child may have difficulty feeding, which can result in malnutrition. Furthermore, the defects can delay the ability to speak, which can leave a child struggling with communication and education.

The optimal age for a cleft lip repair is 4 to 6 months and a palate by 12 months. Our youngest patient was seven months old and our oldest was a five-year-old child. The cleft palate patients will require further surgery when they are older as it is a multistage operation.

Dr. Han remarked while reconstructing the upper lip/nose of a young girl that he was being careful to create a “Lao” nose to help preserve her cultural identity. In Korea, he is a much sought after plastic surgeon for just this reason — his attention to detail and meticulous approach to his work.

Dr. Han and his colleagues donated their consultation time and surgical expertise at LFHC as a result of a partnership between our hospital and members of the Korean and Thai YMCAs.

He looks forward to returning to LFHC and we look forward to welcoming him back.

Click here to see the video.

Munich Event Delivers Generous Support for LFHC


Moving Child, a nonprofit in Germany that provides education and health-care resources to disadvantaged children worldwide, has been instrumental in supporting the creation of the Thalassemia Clinic at the Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

Anna Schulz-Dornberg and Gertraud Leimstaettner, founders of Moving Child, recently hosted a fundraising event in Munich for Friends Without A Border that raised nearly $70,000. More than 40 people attended the event.

While traveling in Laos last January, Anna and Gertraud discovered FWAB when they wandered into the Visitor Center at our hospital in Luang Prabang. They made an incredibly generous donation and later spoke with Executive Director Nicole Pagourgis who mentioned that she was planning a trip to Europe and wondered if they might be interested in hosting an event in Germany. They immediately offered to do so.

The Munich event was so successful that the Moving Child foundation has already scheduled a second gathering for September 13, 2018, at the Naturheilpraxis für Körper BewusstSein. Details about the event are available on the Moving Child website.

Thanks so much to Anna and Gertraud for their support!

If you or your organization would be interested in hosting an event for Friends Without A Border, please contact us at 212-691-0909.