Healing Health and Hope

New Delhi, India with Smile Train

Posted on March 21, 2018 by Michelle

We want everyone to know we will be working in rural cities next to New Delhi. We are working with several NGO’s to make sure children and adults have a beautiful smile. What else can you ask for other than a smile from a stranger or a loved one, its priceless. Please help if you can and make a small contribution to our efforts.

Up next: Jinotega, Nicaragua

Posted on January 19, 2017 by Michelle

In February, our team will be returning once again to the city of Jinotega, Nicaragua to complete another week-long surgical mission sponsored by Soul of Healing Trust. We have returned to the same area each year, so we are familiar with the hospital, the people, and the city. The best part is getting to see the patients who received surgery the previous year! Find us on Facebook for live updates!

Save the Date!

Posted on August 11, 2016 by Michelle

We will be having our third annual fundraiser this year at The Lighthouse in Cedar Lake. We will be hosting a breakfast, games, a silent auction, and a Bears vs Colts viewing area!

Please mark your calendar to join us on Sunday, October 9th, 2016 at 12:00 pm! Formal invitations will be sent out in September.

Next up: San Rafael, Nicaragua

Posted on January 19, 2016 by Michelle

Happy new year! We are excited to announce that we will continue our biannual surgical missions to Nicaragua this year, traveling to San Rafael and Jinotega, Nicaragua. We are excited that our dental team, Dr. Lubas and Dr. Laudando have also stayed on board for missions to Nicaragua as well. Most importantly, we begin our surgical trips to Abancay, Peru in May!

We’ve got a fun-filled year ahead of us with lots of families lives to be changed. Will you help us get there? 
This little cutie has a condition called a congenital nevus. The dark skin is more likely to turn into skin cancer, so it is important that she has the area removed and skin grafts put in its place.

Poinsettias 2015!

Posted on October 27, 2015 by Michelle

This year’s Poinsettias will be delivered Saturday, December 5th from 11 am- 4pm at our office, 8053 Cleveland Place, Merrillville, Indiana. Please have your orders in by Friday, November 20th to ensure we have enough!

For more information, order forms, or online purchasing, look here.

7in assorted 112312
8in Dish Garden 112312

My Nicaragua Experience

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Nick Bluhm

Nick Bluhm is an 18-year-old high school senior who recently joined us on our week-long mission trip to Jinotega, Nicaragua. He has spent the last year collecting donations for Healing, Health, & Hope as a part of his Eagle Scout project. We asked him to share his experience, which we have published below:

For the last decade, I have been convinced that I wanted to be an engineer. Everything that I’ve done has been specifically geared toward that goal: I have participated in the Science Olympiad Team for the last six years, devoting my free time to competing in engineering-type events. I’ve specifically structured my classes in preparation for this career. Nothing has ever indicated to me that I might not enjoy being an engineer, but I am not so convinced that it is what I want to do with my life after spending a week in Nicaragua with this group of volunteers.

coloring wall

A few of our patients coloring on one of my donations – a 25′ coloring book

The opportunity to accompany a surgical team doesn’t come around often. For my Eagle Scout Project, I elected to help the organization Healing, Health, and Hope (HHH). They go to Central and Southern American countries and provide reconstructive surgeries for those who would otherwise not receive any medical care. The majority of their patients are children who have lived with their ailments for their entire lives, and receive few comforts. When HHH goes on their trips, they take with them toys, blankets, stuffed animals, and hygiene products to give to their patients, helping to make the hospital stay and recovery period a little easier. My project was to collect these supplies and purchase new luggage for them to transport their supplies. My project went very well and my contributions impressed HHH so much that they asked me to join them on their trip and actively participate in their organization. I, of course, couldn’t refuse the offer, so I spent the last week of this summer in Jinotega, Nicaragua working in surgery.


helping fill up medicine bottles for our patients

I don’t like using the phrase “life-changing,” as all events change our lives somehow, but I feel that it is the most apt way to describe my time in Nicaragua. I have never traveled much, and had never been on a plane before this trip, so this was incredibly enlightening for me. Sure, on TV and in books I have seen what these places look like, but nothing can capture what it’s like in real life. Seeing the country, and how other people live was certainly an informative experience; it made me value what I have much more. This, however, was more eye-opening than life-changing: I knew all of these things before seeing them myself, but seeing them drove the point home. What changed my life while in Nicaragua was working with the patients, almost exclusively young children.

Seeing what this medical team does, I’m not so sure that engineer is my only path. After spending time with one of our patients, I do know one thing for sure.

Nicaragua 2015-Nevus

This patient was a three year old boy, who has a “giant nevus” on his back, which is essentially gigantic mole. Apart from being unsightly, a nevus has a far greater chance of becoming a malignant melanoma. Having one the size of his back isn’t very good for his odds. This basically means that this happy little boy, whom I’d watched smiling and playing for the last three days, might not have much longer. Because of my trip, I now know what I want to do with my life: seeing this terrible reality up-close and personal has made it clear that I want to do what I can to prevent this from happening to anyone else. I still don’t know how exactly to go about doing it – I could be a biomedical engineer, a doctor, or a surgeon. Whatever path, I want to help to make sure no one else goes through this.

Save the Date!

Posted on July 17, 2015 by Michelle

Friday, September 18th will be our second annual Dinner/Golf Outing! Please come help us celebrate another great year!

golfer guy.jpg

Don’t worry if you aren’t a great golfer– you wont be alone  Just let us know, and we can add you into a foursome of similar abilities.  Just come have fun!

Don’t golf? Also not a problem — We would love to see you at dinner!

Jinotega, Nicaragua – February/March 2015

Posted on March 13, 2015 by Michelle

Sorry for the lack of updates–with 100% volunteers and no paid staff, sometimes it’s difficult to keep up online! Please find us on Facebook for details of our most recent trip to Jinotega, Nicaragua.

Poinsettias for a Purpose

Posted on November 7, 2014 by Michelle

Hello again, HHH Family!

We hope this year end is finding you warm and well! Thanks to the popularity of last year’s fundraiser, we have decided to again sell poinsettias through the first few weeks of November. Please note the shorter deadline this year; forms need to be turned in by Wednesday, November 19th to have enough time to process before the December 5th deadline.


Our annual thank-you newsletter was sent out yesterday along with an order form.
Thanks–hope to see you December 5th!

HHH is a Top-Rated Nonprofit!

Posted on October 27, 2014 by Michelle

You have spoken and they listened: Healing, Health, & Hope was rated a 2014 Top NonProfit from greatnonprofits.org! If you haven’t done it yet, please rate and review us. It only takes a few minutes to sign up. Volunteer. Donate.Review.

Our August trip/Dr. Retson’s 40th Mission

Posted on August 24, 2014 by Laura

Many people ask what it’s like to go on a medical trip, and across the board our team members find that it is hard to describe them.  There are not words sufficient to explain not only the wonderful feeling of helping people truly in need, but describing the conditions, the stories, and the people we meet. Each trips renews how grateful we are to live the lives we do – to have modern hospitals, schools, and homes, and to have access to doctors of any specialty needed.   Healing, Health, & Hope’s August trip to Jinotega, Nicaragua marked Dr. Nicholas Retson’s 40th trip, so in honor of that, here are 40 short facts about the trip to give you a little flavor of what we were up to that week (click for larger images):

  1. This was our team’s first time in Nicaragua in the month of August.
  2. We had the chance to enjoy Nicaragua’s rainy season on our daily walks to and from the hospital.
  3. Our hotel in Nicaragua is only four blocks from the hospital.
  4. We had three new members of the team to successfully undergo our secret initiation ceremony.
  5. This trip marked the 5th time at the same hospital in Jinotega.
  6. We’ve made some lasting friendships with the staff there over the years, and it’s always exciting to see them again!
  7. We fly into Miami, then take the 3 ½ hour flight to Nicaragua,
  8. Then we ride on a bus for about three hours to get to Jinotega.
  9. We screened 29 patients on Saturday evening,
  10. Which was after nearly 24 hours of travel for our team to arrive in Jinotega.
  11. Sunday brought us 87 additional patients to screen to find our best surgery candidates.
  12. We usually are given an outside clinic next to the hospital for surgery, but this time we shared the regular hospital.
  13. Our anesthesiologist for this trip, Dr. Raja Ravella, celebrated his birthday that week,
  14. Complete with two birthday cakes
  15. That we happily shared with the hospital staff who helped us all week.
  16. Our youngest patient having surgery was 6 months old
  17. Our oldest patient was 87 years young
  18. We performed surgery on 10 patients with cleft palates
  19. And 13 patients with cleft lips
  20. There are often stray dogs wandering the halls of the hospital.
  21. We once even saw a skunk!
  22. The skunk cleared the hallways where ever he went.
  23. There were several prisoners (and armed guards) staying at the hospital that week–one of the prisoners escaped and was roaming the hallway naked (sorry, no photo here!).
  24. Many of our patients were from a town so far away that the only way to get there is by walking or helicopter
  25. All of these patients got to us by walking for days
  26. The patients and their families from this region, the Miskito Coast, did not speak English or Spanish!
  27. Instead they speak a language called Miskito
  28. This made pre and post-operation instructions and questioning difficult, but as always, where there’s a will, there’s a way!
  29. Many of our team members had the chance to practice their charades skills
  30. We got to witness a piñata ceremony at the pediatric ward one day
  31. Gela, our little Nicaraguan girl who came to the US for surgery last year, was brought in by her mother again
  32. Gela received a successful surgery for her cleft palate this trip
  33. Gela also brought her sister and niece to meet us!
  34. We had a little patient named Mileydi, pronounced “m’lady”.
  35. Our doctors also did some consultations for Nicaraguan doctors of patients already checked into the hospital to provide them with their medical opinions.
  36. We started each day at 8 in the morning
  37. And ended whenever we finished our cases- usually 11 PM or later!
  38. All in all, we worked for over 75 hours in the week-long trip
  39. And performed 44 procedures on children and adults
  40. We all had a great time, accomplished a lot, and can’t wait to come back to Jinotega in February!