Turning empathy into action…running City2Surf for Interplast

My hero is a plastic surgeon.

5 years ago my wife, Dr Sacha Ruberu, and I visited the Cleft Palate Clinic at Westmead Children's Hospital, filled with trepidation, holding our baby son Lucas. He was going in for unilateral cleft lip reconstruction.

Now Lucas's future is bright thanks to many people who have helped him - notably heroic #surgeon Dr. Peter Hayward. My family saw Dr. Hayward this month for a check-up. As I do when we meet, I gave him a big hug and told him how #grateful we are for the gift of Lucas' smile.

Lucas’ surgery in 2012 was the catalyst that helped me find my #why - and shaped my career direction and volunteering decisions.

Surgeons like Dr. Hayward help rebuild lives across the #AsiaPacific by #volunteering to provide life-changing surgery and medical training for Interplast. To support their efforts I’ve decided for City2Surf 2017 presented by #Westpac, that I will run to #fundraise in support of Interplast.


Please donate online here or share this post to help raise awareness of Interplast.


Join me and give your time, treasure or running talent for the community organisations, like #Interplast, that change lives.


Watch why I am grateful for the gift of Lucas' smile on YouTube


"In Australia and New Zealand, we often take it for granted that if we ever need medical care, we will be treated quickly and effectively by highly qualified doctors, nurses, surgeons and other specialists.

But right next door in the Asia Pacific region, a lack of resources combined with limited training means people with repairable conditions are often not treated fast enough or well enough – if they are treated at all.

An estimated 99 million people in Asia and Oceania go each year go without surgical attention they urgently need - this is where Interplast works.

For many conditions, plastic and reconstructive surgery is the only path to a productive and comfortable life.
A child with a cleft lip or facial tumour may be teased so badly that attending school is impossible. Surgery can make the difference between missing out on an education, or fulfilling their potential. For those with cleft palates, surgery can mean the difference between being able to eat properly or suffering from malnutrition, and between speaking with ease or living in silence.

Plastic surgery has the power to change the future of entire communities, yet for millions of those who need it most, it is simply not available or not affordable.
Of course, no single organisation could ever help that many people, which is why – in addition to free reconstructive surgery – Interplast delivers high quality training for local medical professionals in 17 partner countries, in response to their requests. They do this in close collaboration withlocal partners and a network of organisations in Australia and New Zealand.

Interplast's training programs help strengthen health systems by giving professionals the skills they need to restore function – and hope – to people affected by burns, tumours, hand and foot injuries, congenital anomalies and more. In the meantime, our volunteer medical teams work tirelessly to help as many individuals as they can.

When you donate to Interplast, you are contributing to changing futures today. Your donation will give someone in need the chance to have life-changing surgery, and it will give someone the opportunity to learn new skills that will benefit their community for years to come.

Run4Interplast Westpac200

Written by

Lali Wiratunga
Impact 25 Winner ◇ Strategy | Innovation ◇ Marketing ◇ MBA ◇ NED ◇ Westpac Financial Literacy and Social Sector Advocate

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