Partner for Surgery

Partner for Surgery was founded in 2001 to serve as a bridge between patients in need of major health and surgical care in remote communities and the international volunteer triage and surgical teams that come to Guatemala to help the impoverished; and to educate and empower rural Guatemalans to initiate and advocate for vital health care services on their own behalf.
Feb 6, 2015

Fredy

Fredy before his surgery
Fredy before his surgery

Recently, Partner for Surgery supporters Lori, Ken and Ed traveled to Guatemala to learn first hand about our work. The visitors traveled for three days, visiting our patients in the rural areas. The last visit was to the home of Fredy, who recently had the first of two surgeries.

Let me give you a sense of how remotely located our rural families are. To reach Fredy’s house, the group drove for hours over bumpy dirt roads. When driving was no longer possible, they hiked through meadows, trekked over hills, and carefully made their way down a precarious path of mud stairs. 

As they entered the humble home, heavy smoke came from something cooking over an open fire. Fredy's health promoter went to work delivering infant formula, asking questions, taking photos and weighing Fredy. And then the unexpected happened – the cooking was for a special Mayan lunch to honor the visitors! 

After enjoying the delicious lunch, the family patriarch, Fredy’s grandfather, made a moving, eloquent speech in his Mayan dialect, explaining that he thanked God every day for the magical work the doctors had brought to his grandson. He said he knew that without Partner for Surgery, his grandson would have an unhappy, isolated life. The visitors were moved nearly to tears. 

Thanks to you, our generous supporters, Fredy is now a beautiful, normal baby boy with a happy future ahead of him!  

Fredy after his surgery
Fredy after his surgery
Fredy
Fredy's family with their visitors
Jan 27, 2015

Gregorio's story

Gregorio at 1 week
Gregorio at 1 week

Gregorio's family lives in a humble home that is typical for his village: a single room with a bed for the entire family, a dining table, and an open fire for cooking. Although electricity is sometimes available, the family rarely uses it since it is so expensive and they have so little income.

When Gregorio was born in April 2013, his parents Sonia and Miguel were heartbroken to learn of his cleft lip and palate. They believed that no one would help them because they had no money. The midwife suggested they seek help from Partner for Surgery.

About a week after Gregorio’s birth, his parents scraped together enough money to travel to the Health Center - 6 hours away. Gregorio weighed less than 5 pounds in spite of being almost 19 inches long - he was severely malnourished and at risk of dying. As the midwife had promised, Partner for Surgery and their local partner ACPC stepped in. For the next 18 months, health promoter Juan Gabriel visited their home to deliver supplies, monitor Gregorio’s growth, and support and educate Gregorio’s parents. Juan Gabriel also escorted the family to appointments to ensure that Gregorio received medical care, immunizations, and supplements, and accompanied the family during their surgical journeys. Gregorio’s parents feel truly blessed to have found Partner for Surgery, since their poverty would have prevented them from receiving help otherwise.

Gregorio received cleft lip surgery in November 2013, speech therapy training in August 2014, and cleft palate surgery in November 2014. Today this handsome young man is full of smiles!

Said Gregorio’s grandfather: "Partner for Surgery has not only been a blessing for my grandson, my son and his wife, but for all of us, his family. With your help my grandson's life has been transformed into joy and blessing, compared to the moment of birth when we all felt desperate and did not know what to do. Thank you, thank you very much.”

Gregorio at 4 months
Gregorio at 4 months
Gregorio after cleft lip surgery
Gregorio after cleft lip surgery
Gregorio today
Gregorio today
Dec 2, 2014

Meet 10 year old Walter

Walter when he first came to us
Walter when he first came to us

Thanks to the generous supporters of Partner for Surgery, so far in 2014 we have been able to provide medical care to 1542 desperately poor Guatemalans, and perform life changing surgery for 687. Here is the story of one of our pediatric patients, Walter.

Walter is a delightful 10 year old boy who was seen by one of our health promoters near his rural village of San Miguel, Chisec, and later escorted to Antigua, Guatemala for successful surgery. Translated from his indigenous language into Spanish and then English, here are the words of Walter and his father, Don Juan:

Walter (On being examined prior to surgery): I feel sad about the tumor that I have. My mom tells me I was born normal, but when I was three the tumor appeared and my dad never had money to take me to a doctor. It gradually grew more and more until it reached this size. Now I am ten years old and in second grade. Other students tease me because of my tumor and because we have no money to do anything about it.”

Don Juan (explaining how Walter’s surgery was possible): “Someone came to Walter’s school to help students and families who had health problems and no money. They saw Walter and took his information. A month later this person told me they had arranged a medical day for our village and that I should take my son to be seen. They told me ‘do not worry, we will take care of your transportation and food and someone will go with you.’ That’s when I learned about Partner for Surgery.”

Don Juan continued: “After Walter was seen during the medical day, Nativity (the name of a Partner for Surgery Health Promoter) told me we would have to travel to Antigua so that my son could have an operation. We traveled with Nativity and a small group of people who also needed surgery. When we got to the hospital, we were told they first had to do a test called an MRI or something and I was desperate because I told them we were poor and did not have money for such a test, but thank God, they paid for this test to examine my son. Then I was told we had to wait another week so doctors could see Walter and decide if they could operate. I said no, that I must return to work so my family could have enough to eat. Thankfully, I was convinced to wait – I didn’t really want to but they persuaded me. Thanks to God, they operated on my son and he is happy. We are a poor family. Our house is made of straw and sticks and we would never have had money for surgery.”

Walter received his surgery on August 27th of this year from IBERMED.  When he woke up, the first thing Walter said was “Thank you, thank Señora Isa (another Partner for Surgery Health Promoter) for convincing my dad to stay and thank you for staying with us. I’m happy because now I’m going back to school and no one will tease me because I’m cured. Thanks to Partner for Surgery, I can fulfill my dream of being big and healthy in my life. Thank God for saving me from everything and also Partner for Surgery, thank you very, very much.” 

 

Walter, and other patients like him, are why we do what we do. Thank you for helping us to change their lives!

Walter and his father
Walter and his father
Walter before his surgery
Walter before his surgery
Walter after his surgery
Walter after his surgery

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