Mount Airy surgeon practices charity on a global scale
MOUNT AIRY — Dr. Robyn Hakanson, a renowned orthopedic surgeon and Holy Angels parishioner, learned at an early age the importance of giving back to the community.
Every Christmas Eve, her father and other men in their parish searched the streets, bars and nursing homes for anyone who would be alone that night and brought them all to a big Christmas dinner. Hakanson and her family always participated in the event, but she didn't realize the significance of that simple but meaningful act of charity until she was an adult.
Hakanson jokes that in medicine, everyone says, "I gave at the office." She adds thoughtfully, "[My family] is so unbelievably blessed. We make an effort to do what we can for people, whether it's financial sacrifices or giving our time, support or knowledge."
Pictured above: Dr. Robyn Hakanson, a parishioner at Holy Angels Church in Mount Airy (standing in the front on the left), pauses while holding a surgical instrument as she and her team perform a knee replacement surgery. Hakanson is part of a group of women orthopedic surgeons who went on a mission trip to Antigua, Guatemala, in September. Next September, they are headed to Peru.( Photos provided by Dr. Robyn Hakanson)
She frequently volunteers at a local free clinic but says she felt compelled to do more.
She found her opportunity through networking with other women orthopedic surgeons, who comprise a mere 4 percent of that field. Even fewer specialize in joint replacement surgery.
Hakanson and four other women joint specialists formed a group called Women Orthopedist Global Outreach, or WOGO, to volunteer their unique services in under-served global communities, with an emphasis on helping women.
They raise money to provide free surgery but also work to empower, educate and engage women in developing countries.
In September, the surgeons and their team traveled to Antigua, Guatemala, for their second mission trip.
Hakanson says, "We see the good that we do and realize what a small, small sacrifice it is for us and what a huge difference it makes in the lives of the people we touch.
"I learned how good multiplies."
On that trip to Guatemala, WOGO worked with other charities and obtained computers, athletic equipment and new shoes for students at a girls' school.
None of this would be possible without the support of a loving and unique family. Hakanson's husband, Erik Moledor, left a high-powered career to homeschool their three children. A Catholic convert, he is active at Holy Angels Church as a lector and RCIA instructor.
A last-minute cancellation allowed him the fortunate opportunity to join Hakanson on the mission to Guatemala. In addition to supervising, organizing and delivering millions of dollars' worth of equipment, he was able to see his wife operate for the first time.
"It was 'Take Your Husband to Work Day!'" Hakanson laughs.
The couple's children also contributed to the mission.
Oldest daughter Payton, 12, inventoried boxes of supplies, stuffed envelopes and donated some of her eBay profits. Caroline, 6, and James, 5, sold lemonade and cookies. Like their mother, they are blessed to grow up with an example of true charity: "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy." (Matt 25:21)
Hakanson and WOGO are planning a third mission trip to Peru in September 2012.
To learn more about the organization or to make a donation, visit www.wogo.org.
— Peggy Bowes, correspondent
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy