By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – There are women who are simply unstoppable. Life coach Ouida Duncan is one of them. Early this International Women’s Month, the foundation she established, the Duncan Tree Foundation, held its fourth fundraiser for its Scoliosis Surgical Missions in Davao City, Philippines in order to be able to fly to the Philippines in April 2018.
She was profuse in her thanks to guests who came to the event on 6th Avenue, notably to the volunteers who have joined in her vision “to heal and empower under-served communities in the world.” The Duncan Tree Foundation, which she founded in 2008, provides free spinal surgeries in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and recently, the Philippines. In 2017, the DTF partnered with the Tebow Cure Hospital for its medical mission in the Philippines.
Loida Nicolas Lewis, chair of the TLC Beatrice LLC, keynoted the event by commending Ouida for her life-changing efforts for the Filipino youth suffering from scoliosis. “I was busy promoting the film honoring my dear husband Reginald Lewis for the Black History Month when I got this invitation to speak before you. I could not refuse the request by Ouida, the brain and heart of the Duncan Foundation. She is not a Filipino, neither is she married to a Filipino. I am aware of the miseries of my own Filipino people, so how could I refuse? Ouida has put tremendous effort to give young Filipinos normal lives. They could have been condemned to be hunchback for life. Now, they could be as normal as in any member of their family, their classmates. The surgeries could bring them pride and self-confidence. So thank you, and please make your donations now. Filipinos here should make bigger donations,” Ms. Lewis said.
For Dr. Kenneth Paonessa, a surgeon from Connecticut, being with the surgical mission in the Philippines was a profound experience. “As a doctor in the US, I spend so much time with documents and paper work. In the Philippines, it is uplifting to actually see that my skills are able to change lives immediately, without the tedious documentations. I look forward to going back to the Philippines,” he said.
During the fundraiser, hosted by Jen Furer, co-host of the Makilala TV show, the Duncan Foundation presented service excellence awards to Chunyee Miot, David Dungey, Nat Valentine, Christina Regan, Dr. Sheila Campbell-Forester, and Vincent HoSang.
The Alex Terrier Jazz Trio provided beautiful soft music during the event which also had a silent auction.