We in Partner for Surgery would like to share with you the experiences of seven year old Kimberly, who had almost lost hope of getting desperately needed surgery. Five years ago Kimberly’s family noticed a significant mass in her groin and took her to the local health center where they were told nothing could be done. Since the family lives near the border with Mexico, in desperation they took Kimberly to a private Mexican hospital where they learned that surgery was possible but at prohibitive cost. The family survives only by selling potatoes and a few pigs.
Two months ago Kimberly’s parents heard that a Partner for Surgery medical mission would soon be in their village. With renewed hope, they got in line to see the team where one of our dedicated volunteer doctors, Dr. Brigid Glackin from the University of Illinois, evaluated Kimberly. She was recommended for surgery and put on the schedule for our March surgical team. We escorted Kimberly and one of her parents to the Guatemala City hospital, Fundacion Pediatrica, where Dr. Ed Doolin had again brought his team from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Kimberly’s surgery was successful and the next day I visited her with other Partner for Surgery staff. She had a beautiful smile and looked like she had just won the lottery. I asked “Why the big smile?” and she answered - “I am smiling because today I feel like new; I feel I can continue to have fun and be a kid. I will be able to play, run and walk with my two brothers. I missed that.”
We often forget to enjoy life and, at her young age, Kimberly reminded us to do so. Partner for Surgery will continue to work hard to help more children to enjoy life and being kids.
Kimberly’s story is one of hundreds that can be told because donors like you have helped fund our GlobalGiving Project. Please continue supporting this project so that Partner for Surgery can continue serving those in Guatemala who have no other options but the care we make possible.
Since our last report 172 patients have surgery and 538 individuals have been evaluated in rural communities by Partner for Surgery. If you would like to volunteer for a rural medical mission, please check our website for details. Medical and non-medical volunteers are needed.
Dulce was born February 10, 2015. Dulce's parents Brenda and Walter immediately gave thanks to God for the birth of their daughter, but were shocked and frightened when they learned of her cleft lip and palate. They asked in despair, why, God? How will she nurse? What kind of a life will she lead with this shame? We have no money to help our daughter - what will we do?
After hearing about Partner for Surgery’s work helping poor villagers like themselves, Dulce’s parents brought her to be seen by one of our volunteer medical teams. Brenda and Walter learned about Partner for Surgery’s Nutrition Project to deliver lifesaving nourishment to cleft infants, and our volunteer surgical teams to repair the birth defects. They knew they were truly blessed when they learned that the expenses to correct Dulce’s cleft lip and palate would be covered by donations from our generous supporters.
A Partner for Surgery health promoter traveled to her family home and evaluated Dulce’s progress monthly. The little girl thrived in the Nutrition Program and grew quickly. She received her first successful surgery for cleft lip in July 2015, and received her second successful surgery for cleft palate four short months later in November.
Brenda and Walter are so grateful to God for the miracle Partner for Surgery brought to their family. Following Dulce’s second surgery in November, here is what they had to say: "Thank you Partner for Surgery! We know God will pour out many blessings upon you this Christmas, and wish you prosperity for the coming year so you can continue your blessed work."
As she approaches her second birtnday, Dulce is walking and smiling. She is beginning to speak normally. Thank you for your gifts that allow us to change the lives of little ones like Dulce and her family.
Twelve year old Maynor is one of four children in his family. Three years ago Maynor’s father, a teacher, was murdered, leaving the family heartbroken and in extreme poverty. Maynor’s mother had been a housewife but suddenly had to look for work to support her family. She began to clean the home of a wealthy woman and Maynor would often go along and help. His mother says that he is the type of child a mother can always count on.
One day, about a year ago, Maynor was helping his mother do laundry. They were up on the terrace, hanging clothes on the line to dry. The house was protected by electrical wire and, when Maynor threw a shirt over the line by mistake, 13,000 electrical volts jolted his entire body. When he woke up, his mother was crying because she thought he was dead. He also began to cry.
The wealthy woman of the house, instead of offering to help, fired Maynor’s mother and gave them the equivalent of $26 to fend for themselves.
Maynor’s mother was desperate. They rushed to a local hospital and his life was saved. However, there was no money for burn repair surgery and Maynor went home with both terrible burns and limited mobility due to skin contractures from flesh that had melted together.
Almost a year later, Maynor’s mother heard a radio announcement about a Partner for Surgery medical mission. Maynor and his mother made a long journey to be seen by one of the volunteer doctors. Shortly thereafter, Maynor received two separate surgeries that slowly released the fused flesh that contorted his body. The second surgery had the most dramatic effect because it released fused skin behind his knees, allowing Maynor to straighten his legs for the first time in a year.
Throughout the weeks at the surgical center, Maynor always had a smile for everyone and was more concerned about the wellbeing of the other children than himself.
Maynor continues to fight for a better life and not let the accident break him down. He hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a teacher. He said, “I think about my father a lot and miss him. I want to make my father proud.”