Monday, May 30, 2011


(Samaritan Mag) - By Karen Bliss

Singer-songwriter Corey Hart first met Project Medishare for Haiti co-founder Dr. Barth Green when he underwent cervical disk fusion surgery by the world renowned Miami neurosurgeon. At the time, Hart had just signed Montreal singer Marie-Christine Depestre to his record label, Siena, whose parents are both from Haiti.

Now, she has aligned herself with the non-profit organization which shares “its human and technical resources with its Haitian partners in the quest to achieve quality healthcare and development services for all,” according to its mandate. The liner notes of her debut album, Walk In Beauty, includes the line “Marie-Christine and Siena Records support the people of Haiti with Project Medishare,”

“First of all, I consider myself to be super lucky to have a roof over my head, water, food,” Marie-Christine tells Samaritanmag (she doesn’t use her last name professionally). “So when something like that [earthquake] happens to a country like Haiti, a third world country, it’s unreal. You can’t imagine people fighting for survival everyday. It’s almost a duty to help people that don’t have what we do. And, of course, my heritage — I’ve never been to Haiti so it’s the perfect time to go visit.”

Hart says Marie-Christine will likely go to Haiti in November or December of this year, the same time as Dr. Green and his team. On January 10, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing an estimated 300,000 people and devastating the capital city, Port-au-Prince. More than 300,000 were injured and one million rendered homeless, according to government figures.

“We haven’t outlined exactly what she’s going to do,” Hart tells Samaritanmag. “I’m sure there’s going to be manual labour where she’s just helping and visiting sick children and stuff like that, and also doing some musical performances because she’s an artist.”

Marie-Christine’s parents are in the medical field. Her dad is the lab chief of pathology at Jewish General Hospital and her mom, now retired, worked in the microbiology labs at Centre Hospitalier CĂ´tes des neiges. Marie-Christine also worked at Jewish General as a clerk, medical secretary and then lab technician in cytology. “I don’t know what [Dr. Green] is going to ask me to do [in Haiti], but I’ve worked at Jewish General [Hospital] for five years, so I’m not freaked out by medical stuff,” she says.

While many debut artists choose a charity after their first album is out and their career is underway, when Hart heard about Medishare it made sense for Marie-Christine to become involved given her family background.

Among its work in Haiti, Project Medishare has a continuing commitment to rural communities by establishing and funding sustainable programs; trains Haitian physicians, nurses and allied health professionals; and provides technology, supplies and equipment to its clinic in Thomonde and other affiliated programs throughout Haiti.

“[Corey’s] the one that referred me to the web site and I went and looked at it and read everything. It’s a perfect charity [for me],” says Marie-Christine.

“You don’t want a government one where you don’t know if money is going to the wrong place. A lot of these charities they’re not transparent,” adds Hart.

“Barth Green is one of the top neurosurgeons in the world and he devotes completely out of the goodness of his heart and wanting to help. He’s been doing it for 10, 15 years. He goes down to Haiti and spends two weeks in all the villages, and all the impoverished areas of Haiti, treating people that have paralysis or that have spinal diseases and he treats them free of charge.

“I sent him Marie-Christine’s work and he reached out to me and said, ‘We have a lot of famous basketball players and celebrities that lend their time to this, she’s got Haitian roots it would be a great match. I respect the guy and Marie-Christine ultimately decided that it would be a good charity.”

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