Marshallese teenager Dallan Jennet was the toast of a party in New York City this past week. By all accounts the celebration closed one chapter marked by struggle and disability in this young man’s life, and opened another that has Dallan primed to reengage in a life that he had all but abandoned.
Dallan spent four months in New York to undergo a series of surgeries and follow up procedures at Mt. Sinai Hospital that followed on initial surgery at Majuro hospital early this year.
“Dallan’s procedures and surgeries have been very successful, and he and his mother will be returning to the Marshall Islands at the beginning of October,” said Canvasback co-founder Jacque Spence, who was a key person in organizing medical treatment for the 14-year-old.
President Loeak joined in the party for Dallan after his address to the United Nations last week.
“Thanks to Dr. Tal Dagan, a well-known reconstructive surgeon in New York, and the generous donations from individuals, organizations, and collaborative efforts of the RMI Ministry of Health and Canvasback Missions, Dallan can reclaim his life,” said Spence.
Five years ago, after scaling a tree with some friends in the Batkan area of Majuro, he tripped and fell face-first onto a live wire. With flesh burned beyond repair, doctors had to remove his nose and several toes, leaving him with a painful injury. Since the accident, Dallan has stayed home from school, preferring to spend most of his days within the confines of his yard.
“We could not make these life-changing services available without the passionate dedication of our volunteers, the collaboration of organizations across the world, and support from our donors,” said Spence.
The question of Dallan’s re-entry into school after a several-year absence was solved by a conversation between Spence and Bank of Marshall Islands President Patrick Chen last month. The bank, as part of its ongoing scholarship program for low-income families, is providing tuition to Majuro Coop School for Dallan.
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