Staten Island woman does whatever she can to help children in need

Mike Krumboltz
Yahoo News

She doesn't always know who the children are, but that doesn't stop Elissa Montanti from doing all she can to find and help them.

The selfless Staten Island woman has helped 170 children who have suffered from devastating injuries in places as far away as Bosnia and the Philippines. Her story was recently profiled by CBS News.

Montanti is the founder of the Global Medical Relief Fund, an organization that helps children who have been victimized by war or natural disasters. She recently assisted Aldrin Tadic, a 6-year-old boy who lost a leg in Typhoon Haiyan, which claimed the lives of thousands of people in November 2013.

Montanti told CBS News that she saw Aldrin's photo online during a search for children who had been injured in the typhoon. She said she didn't know his name or anything about him. Still, the photo touched her and she was determined to help.

Montanti shared the photo online and asked for any assistance in tracking down the boy. Speaking to CBS News about the quest, Montanti said, "I sent the picture around to everyone I knew somewhat apologetically, knowing the chances of finding the kid were slim to none. But I knew if I had turned away from this I wouldn't have stopped thinking about 'what if.' Helping one is always better than helping none."

Her persistence paid off. Eventually, the photo was spotted by Rosalia Acosta Teleg, a Manila-based neurologist, who recognized Aldrin.

Montanti got in touch with Aldrin's family and organized their trip to the United States, where Aldrin could be fitted for a prosthetic leg.

The Global Medical Relief Fund, Montanti's organization, raises money to transport the people to the U.S., where they are given medical care at no cost from the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Pennsylvania, according to CBS News.

"Every child on Earth deserves a chance," Montanti said. "No matter where they're from, no matter how they speak."

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