By Rich Polt
Published April 18, 2013
This past week was stained by the full spectrum of human tragedy: first in Boston, then Waco, and most recently in China. Yet emerging from the dark pall of calamity, we also learn of the heroic and selfless acts of citizens — often members of the medical community.
Perhaps then it’s fitting that this week’s Talking GOOD interview is with Dr. Ronald Delanois, orthopedic surgeon at Baltimore’s Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics (part of the LifeBridge Health System), where he is considered an expert in complex hip, knee, and shoulder reconstructive surgery. Ronald is the subject of this feature not for being a skilled surgeon only, but because of how he’s using his talents to serve his extended communities.
Ronald is a key advocate for the Save-A-Limb Walk, Ride, and Festival. These are events that support the Save-A-Limb Fund, an organization dedicated to saving limbs from amputation and providing hip and knee replacements to patients in the United States and abroad. Here he is talking about the ride, why it was created, and the problem it addresses.
Ronald’s medical generosity extends well beyond Maryland. In 2011, he traveled with a medical team to his home country of Haiti, where he had not been since the age of 16. There, he and his colleagues performed 32 surgeries over a one-week period, treating people who had been stricken with birth defects and who have no access to advanced medical care. You can see and hear Ronald talking about this experience here.
Dr. Ronald Delanois: thank you for your work, your commitment to easing suffering, your dedication to cause, and answering our Talking GOOD questions.
The 10 questions
IN JUST ONE SENTENCE, WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE?
I feel like it is to give back to those who are less fortunate.
HOW HAS THIS WORK CHANGED YOU?
Being involved with the Save-A-Limb Ride, Walk and Festival over the last five years has given me some new perspectives on those who are truly in need. For example, I took a medical mission trip to Haiti through the Save-A-Limb Fund and got to see firsthand how good we really do have it in the U.S.
WHAT DO YOU GET FROM GIVING?
The personal satisfaction of knowing that what we are doing is helping make life better for somebody.
WHO IS A LIVING HERO AND WHAT WOULD YOU ASK THEM IF GIVEN THE CHANCE?
The Dalai Lama. I would ask him, “What is your greatest motivation in life?”
WHAT EVERYDAY RESOURCES COULD HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR PHILANTHROPIC GOALS?
With the Save-A-Limb Ride, we find that our supporters are our best resource. They get out there and form teams and recruit their families and friends to the cause. We just need more people to join us and either sign up to participate in the ride or to give to the cause.
WHAT IS A BURNING QUESTION THAT YOU HAVE FOR THIS COMMUNITY?
I have two actually. What causes are you most passionate about in life? And what are you doing to help support them?
WHAT WOULD THE TITLE OF YOUR BOOK BE?
Being a Surgeon Is Just My Day Job.
TELL US SOMETHING YOU RARELY SHARE IN PUBLIC?
I am a collector of pens from all over the world.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO ASPIRE TO BE CITIZEN PHILANTHROPISTS?
It goes hand in hand with my question to this community. What is your passion? Whatever it is, find a way to support it. You could start an event like we did. Or give to your favorite organization. Or like many of our Save-A-Limb supporters, find a creative way to raise awareness about your cause. But whatever you do, don’t sit by and let an opportunity pass you up.
WHAT QUESTION DO YOU WISH I HAD ASKED, AND WHAT IS THE ANSWER?
I think it would be, “What keeps you committed to your cause?” And my answer, “The people whose own commitment often puts mine to shame.”