Mo Azzam, a support worker at Newbus Grange specialist autism hospital near Darlington, has been using the skills he has picked up while working there to volunteer for international charity Interplast.
The charity provides free reconstructive surgery for underprivileged people in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Mo assists nurses and doctors carrying out various reconstructive procedures in countries such as Pakistan and Uganda, as well as supporting the families of the patients.
He has worked as a support worker for the last six years at Newbus Grange and it is this he credits with giving him the skills and experience needed to help him carry out his role at Interplast.
Mo says, “Working at Newbus Grange has given me a great insight into caring and supporting people, so this helps me when I go aboard to work for the charity.
“With Interplast I do everything from bringing patients to the operating theatre and assisting nurses to apply the dressings, through to spending time comforting their family members who are waiting for their loved ones to have surgery.
“It’s very rewarding and you know you are making a massive difference to people’s lives.”
Former Teesside plastic surgeon Charles Viva heads the UK branch of Interplast and he recently visited Newbus Grange to see Mo and to thank service manager Hazel Southern for the support that Newbus Grange provides.
He said, “Every operation we do is free of charge and ranges from helping the victims of burns to correcting cleft palates in children. This means we are entirely dependent on fundraising and the support of volunteers like Mo to enable us to carry out our work across the world.”
Hazel said, “Mo is a very valued, popular member of the team and we are very lucky to have him at Newbus Grange, so when he first approached me about helping the charity, I was only too pleased to give him my blessing.
“He uses his holidays and time in lieu to go on the missions and is a real inspiration for our staff and the people we support.”