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Mercy Ships Founders Receive Humanitarian of the Year Award From Variety Club
Date:5/6/2009

ewborn babies will not live to the fifth birthday, largely due to preventable disease. The average lifespan of women where our ships serve is 46 years. 3,000,000 women in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from obstetric fistula in nations whose GDP translates to families living on less than a dollar per day. Medical care, both primary and surgical, are scarce commodities and when they do exist are often far beyond the financial reach of the poor. Mercy Ships offers hope and healing to the world's poorest. On behalf of the world's poor and our dedicated professional volunteers, it is an honor to be considered for this award."

Previous winners of the Humanitarian Award include Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Alexander Fleming and Dr Albert Schweitzer, with last night's award present to the Stephens by TRH Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

Deyon Stephens added, "Living on board the first mercy ship with our four children for ten years was an experience rich in significance, adventure, adversity and satisfaction. Mercy Ships has now seen 30 years come and go. Millions of the world's most needy have now felt the compassionate and healing hands of those serving onboard. "

Mercy Ships' current ship, the Africa Mercy, spent seven years in Newcastle being converted from a rail ferry into the world's largest charity hospital ship, and is now serving the people of Benin.

Staffed entirely by volunteer crew, the ship provides a wide range of free surgeries including maxillo-facial (usually the removal of large benign tumors), cleft lip and palate, flesh-eating noma, release of burn contractures, cataracts, obstetric fistula, and orthopaedic issues.

Mercy Ships CEO Sam Smith said, "Don and Deyon Stephens have an incredible vision to serve the forgotten poor of the world and have tirelessly worked for over
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Source: PRWeb
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