He called Dr. Garfein that day to ask if he knew of any financial resources that could be made available to allow Avi to go ahead with the surgery in Boston. Dr. Garfein immediately went into action calling his contacts and ultimately, by a stroke of serendipity, was once again connected with The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation that agreed to fund the case.
Avi has now had his initial surgery that involved preparing him for the ultimate major reconstruction that will take place in a few months time. Following that surgery, Avi will undergo smaller “touch up” procedures, done on an outpatient basis. In the end, this wonderful young man will be able to go on to live a more normal life in a world that places far too high a value on physical appearance.
Evan Garfein, the angel in both of these cases, is a Harvard Fellow currently working at the Shriner’s Burns Institute in Boston. This facility is supported and operated by Freemasons in North America and more than 750 severely burned children are admitted each year and treated at no charge. Some 3,700 children are treated each year in the hospital’s clinic, again at no charge. It follows that Dr. Garfein is not a stranger to severe, life threatening and debilitating burns, but has seen more suffering than most. He provides loving care for his patients and embraces a personal philosophy “to respect the people who write the checks”.
Dr. Garfein comes from Tenefly, New Jersey, and during his nearly 7 years in Boston he has seen a lot – as an Intern for three years, followed by 2 years in basic research, and now as a Fellow in plastic surgery – and has contributed much to many lives. Yet he believes that the best things that have happened to him over the last several years were his opportunities to intercede in the cases of Tengis and Avi. He says the greatest day of his life was when Ray Tye said an immediate “yes” to his request to have the Foundation assume the cost of the surgery for Tengis.