Volunteers bringing medical assistance to remote Fanning Island - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Volunteers bringing medical assistance to remote Fanning Island

Rollin Caristianous Rollin Caristianous
Rich Smith Rich Smith

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A group of health care providers and volunteers are coming together to help people living in one of the most remote places on Earth.

The people of Fanning Island smile brightly even though their situation may not be so bright.

"About four percent of the children die before they get to one-year-old" said volunteer Rollin Caristianous.

"Without help from the outside, they're pretty much left to die" said volunteer Rich Smith.

Fanning Island is one of the most remote places on Earth, located about a  thousand miles south of Hawaii. The lack of medical care for the estimated 4,000 who live there is one problem:

"There is a doctor on Christmas Island but there's no doctors on Fanning or Washington" said Caristianous.

Their isolation, is another.

"Cruise lines used to go there on a regular basis about every ten or eleven days. Last year, in April they decided not to go anymore. That pretty much stopped their economy of selling crafts and having some income from guests coming off the cruise ship" said Smith.

So Hawaii island residents Smith, Caristianous and friends chartered a boat and sailed off on a goodwill mission to deliver much-needed medical supplies including exam tables and hospital equipment.

Other doctors came to help. One even provided dental care.

"...sat on a five gallon bucket and pulled teeth all day long" said Smith.

"It was very obvious from their smiles and gestures they were very appreciative of what we did" said Caristianous.

"It's a short term fix but we have plans to go back some other trips there in the spring"

And when they go back, they hope to bring more medical supplies and other donated items to the people of Fanning Island.
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