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About Us

Who We Are

Operation Walk is a registered charitable organization in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada., We are a volunteer medical service organization that aims to provide surgical treatments to patients in developing countries with little or no access to care for arthritis or other debilitating bone and joint diseases. 

Dr. Larry Dorr started the first Operation Walk team in Los Angeles in 1996.  Through their efforts, 13 additional mission teams have been created across Canada and the United States to provide life-changing surgeries for poor patients with debilitating chronic joint pain.

Operation Walk Winnipeg began in 2011 and undertook its first mission to Managua, Nicaragua, in October 2012 under the guidance of the Operation Walk Los Angeles team. Since then, we have returned annually as an independent mission team. In 2019, we changed our corporate name to Operation Walk Manitoba. 

Operation Walk Manitoba comprises volunteer nurses, surgeons, physicians, physical therapists, other healthcare professionals, and translators.

Operation Walk Team members have come from every hospital in Winnipeg.  The team has also expanded to include Brandon, Saskatoon, Kelowna, Orlando, England and Greece members.

All individual and corporate donations are directed to help finance the mission of Operation Walk.

Who We Help

Nicaragua has consistently been the second to third poorest nation in the western hemisphere.  Employment is predominantly by labour and farming.  Most Nicaraguans do not have the luxury of an automobile and, at a minimum, must walk long distances to the nearest bus route to travel even modest distances.  Much of the country is mountainous, and buildings are not constructed with thought toward those with limited mobility.  For patients with hip and knee arthritis, everyday is an exercise in pain and frustration.

The patients that presented to Operation Walk are an amazing group of people.  All have been suffering with debilitating arthritis for at least 5 years with many having lived in pain for decades.  They come, supported by their families, to a group of caregivers that, for the most part, don?t speak their language and whom they have not met before.  They trust us with their bodies and their wellness and ask for our help.  For many patients, there is a sense of desperation that this is their only chance to regain their mobility and independence.

As Canadians accustomed to a fairly robust social support network, this is particularly poignant for Nicaraguans, and so much of the developing world, in that the loss of independence and mobility can easily drive a patient and their family deeper into the dark hole of poverty.

Despite or perhaps because of the adversity that these patients have experienced, they are a phenomenal group to work with.  Many walk 100-200 feet the same day as the surgery with little pain medication.

The determination and drive shown by these patients is unlike anything  seen in the developed world.  To see a patient who knows no English speaking to her healthcare team and pointing to her new knee replacement with tears rolling down her cheeks saying ?Gracias, Gracias, Gracias? is a powerful and moving moment for everyone.

Leaving a Legacy

The mission of Operation Walk Manitoba is carried out in partnership with the Roberto Calderon Hospital’s physicians, surgeons and staff in Managua, Nicaragua.  This publicly-funded hospital performs approximately two joint replacements per week for indigent patients who are so impoverished that they cannot afford to pay for medical care.  The hospital also serves as a teaching hospital for Nicaraguans who are studying to become nurses, anesthetists, and orthopedic surgeons.  Local students and staff are encouraged to work alongside the mission team to expand their knowledge and skills and raise the quality of the care received long after the mission team has returned home.