Dr. Jeannine Hatt has graciously served on the International Child Care (ICC) Board for 14 years. Her husband, Dr. Charles Phelps, has supported ICC alongside her, serving as an affiliate of the organization. For eight of these years (becoming nine next month) Hatt and Phelps have participated as members of the Race for Grace cycling team.
Hatt and Phelps, along with their family, had participated in international medical volunteer work for about 10 years when they were first invited to observe ICC projects in Haiti. “I was told that a small children’s hospital there wanted to raise its level of care and was looking to the U.S. for some support in their efforts,” shares Hatt. “That was Grace Children’s Hospital. I made the trip and found myself won over by what I learned.”
Not long after, Hatt decided to join the ICC team. It was the “dedication and empowerment of the local healthcare professionals, the focus on education, and the emphasis on prevention of disease, as well as curative, healthcare” that solidified her commitment to ICC. Hatt, a pediatrician, and Phelps, a radiologist in Denison-Sherman, Texas, have worked to use their resources and medical expertise to benefit the health of the children and families that ICC serves. Part of their focus has been on spreading ICC awareness through growing the Race for Grace, including the involvement of their own family.
For most of their soon-to-be nine years of Race for Grace participation, at least one of their three children have participated in the event. Also physicians, each of their children have been to Haiti and have seen Grace Children’s Hospital, as well as many of ICC’s other programs. Hatt, therefore, isn’t surprised by her kids’ motivation to join the fundraiser. “They all have a global view of health and have seen how most children in our world live,” she says. “They’re willing to participate because they see how even one donated dollar can make a difference in a child’s or family’s life.”
Hatt believes that physically participating in the ride has made a difference for her, adding a little more of, what she describes as, a "feeling of connection" to those ICC serves. “When I get on that bike and start to sweat... I feel humbled. I think about the difficult circumstances that so many of those in Haiti and the Dominican Republic experience every day, while I just have to sit on that bike for a few hours," says Hatt. She hopes that through the support she raises by willing to "sweat and suffer a bit," it will, in turn, help relieve the suffering of a child, parent or healthcare worker in ICC's programs. "It gives me a way to, at least for a few moments or hours, feel in solidarity with them," she says.
Nevertheless, the motivation to get back on her bike each year doesn’t always come easy. As a physician, wife, mother and grandmother, finding time to train year-round proves to be a bit difficult. She makes an effort to ride as far as she can, when she can. Intending to complete several 60+ mile training rides, Hatt hopes to complete the 100 mile portion of the race, a step up from her usual 100k.
For those intimidated by long distances, Hatt reminds us that we don’t have to be an avid-cyclist to pedal for kids in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The objective isn’t necessarily to compete against those around you, but to compete for those in-need, away from you. “No one but YOU yourself knows how far you rode or how fast you rode,” she says. “It’s all about raising support for the kids.”
As the biggest fundraiser of the year, the Race for Grace helps to support the life changing and life saving programs of ICC in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. ICC, and the children of Haiti and the Dominican Republic need YOU. Interested in riding in the Race for Grace? Click here for more details. Can't ride or live too far away? No problem! Help raise money by supporting other riders. Look on ourRazoo fundraising page and support one of the teams pedaling their way to promoting health and hope in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.