Career-changing, Life-changing

FACES Foundation takes pride in the ability to provide life-changing surgeries for children in Peru. The children, however, are not the only ones to have their lives changed: members of the FACES Surgical Team often remark on the impact their service has on their personal lives. Two young team members in particular had very meaningful experiences.

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Makena Kerr and Julia Davis are both high school seniors who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine. Their service with FACES has given them a vision of the impact they can make as trained medical professionals.

 

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Dr. Jessyka Lighthall (left) shows Makena the details of a cleft repair

Makena Kerr joined the team in the position of Patient Representative. She herself has undergone several cleft surgeries, allowing her to empathize with the patients on a profound level. Her mother, Barbara, also supported FACES by traveling with her daughter and speaking with the patient’s families, comforting them and providing valuable insight from a mother’s perspective.

Makena hopes to be a surgeon, and in a recent interview with the Columbian about her experience with FACES, she said, “It really touched me how one surgery could touch a child’s life. It makes me want to be a surgeon even more. I really want to go on medical missions as a surgeon.”  Click here to read more.

 

Julia Davis learned of FACES Foundation from her Aunt, Beth deLaney, a recovery room

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Julia observes bedside manner from her aunt, Beth, who is the FACES Team Lead for recovery nursing

nurse who has volunteered with FACES for the past three years. Last summer, Julia traveled to Panama for a month of community service and language immersion.  She joined the FACES team in Peru this year as an interpreter. Of her experience, she wrote the following:

“This trip inspired my heart and my mind. My appreciation and knowledge of other cultures grew in just one week. I learned more then I ever thought I could have: solidifying my aspirations to become a nurse, no longer shying away from my dreams, and finding a passion and respect to those on the team who have dedicate their lives to helping others. I am so appreciative for the relationships formed with the inspired medical team, dedicated family members of the brave patients, and supportive community members. I will never forget the gratitude felt by the families, hugging and kissing us as they left the hospitals with mementos of photographs.”

 

 

FACES Surgical Team 2016

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Dr. Tom Albert, President & Co-Founder

Dr. Tom Albert is a professor at Oregon Health Sciences University in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery as well as Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Albert was involved in an extensive medical education effort concerning cleft care with Project Hope in China from 1983-1993 and has continued to be involved independently since then. His interest has been to develop ways to extend truly comprehensive cleft care beyond surgery alone to difficult to reach populations

 

 

 

Angela
Angela J. David, Executive Director

Angela has served as the foundation’s director since August 2014. She manages patient health records, team travel logistics, and the social media and fundraising branches of FACES. Her experiences living abroad in Argentina, Switzerland and France have prepared her for a lifetime of international involvement. Angela is also a certified Spanish-English medical interpreter. This will be her 6th trip to Peru.

 

 

 

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Delia Delgado, Peruvian Coordinator

Delia is an accomplished English teacher in Chiclayo, Peru, and studied languages in university. She enjoys meeting new people and visiting new places and, when not working, her favorite free-time activity is walking. Delia loves her work with FACES because she is in direct contact with people, which she says is always a learning experience. She finds great satisfaction in seeing people’s health and lives improve.

 

 

 

 

Kelly
Kelly T. Jensen, VP International Relations

Kelly T. Jensen, B.A., M.B.A, is a business leader and management consultant with over 25 years experience introducing new technologies and management practices in the United States and Latin America. Specializing in healthcare, Mr. Jensen has worked with over 300 hospitals and health care systems to improve their effectiveness. In addition to supporting FACES, Mr. Jensen provides leadership for volunteer programs in faith-based organizations and alumni associations of Harvard University. He is fluent in English and Spanish, and conversant in German and Tzotzil Maya. Kelly has traveled to Peru with FACES over a dozen times.

 

 

Surgeons

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Dr. Dana Smith, Lead Surgeon

Dr. Smith is a Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon who is currently Director of the Kaiser Permanente Northwest Cleft Palate Clinic in Portland, OR. He is an Otolaryngologist at Kaiser and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology at OHSU. Dr. Smith has been to Peru several times for cleft surgery trips, cleft screening trips and international medical conferences. He has also traveled to Russia for a facial reconstructive surgery trip. Dr. Smith has been our lead surgeon for several years: he is a true asset to the FACES Foundation.

 

 

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Dr. Myriam Loyo, Surgeon

Dr. Loyo is an assistant professor at OHSU and a surgeon in the Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery division. She completed her medical education in Monterrey, Mexico and continued her specialization at Johns Hopkins Hospital and OHSU. Dr. Loyo accompanied the FACES team in November for a medical conference and patient screenings. We are thrilled that she is joining the team in Peru for the surgical campaign.

 

 

 

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Dr. Tom Wang, Surgeon

Dr. Wang’s practice is centered on cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face. He is currently the director of the Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery department at OHSU. He is actively involved in teaching medical students and residents, and he is an excellent mentor to the surgeons on the team. His professionalism and standards of perfection are wonderful qualities that we value immensely. This will be his third trip to Peru with FACES.

 

 

 

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Dr. Jessyka Lighthall, Surgeon

Dr. Lighthall is an assistant professor of surgery at Penn State MSH Medical Center and the department director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. She is recognized for her medical talents as well as her compassion for each one of her patients. Dr. Lighthall appreciates the value of collaboration and mentor-ship, and we are so grateful to have her on the team. This is Dr. Lighthall’s third medical mission with the FACES Foundation.

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Lourdes Quintanilla-Dieck, Surgeon

Dr. Quintanilla-Dieck is a surgeon in the department of Head and Neck Surgery at OSHU. She began her medical education in In Monterrey, Mexico and continued her specialization at Mass Eye and Ear (Massachusettes), OHSU (Oregon) and Vanderbilt (Tennessee). She is a talented surgeon and a compassionate doctor. This will be her second trip to Peru with the FACES Foundation.

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Dane Barrett, Surgeon

Dr. Barrett is a surgeon in the department of Head and Neck Surgery at OHSU. He has recently moved to Oregon from Virginia and has brought with him a wealth of experience in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. This is Dr. Barrett’s first trip with the FACES Foundation, and we are honored by his participation.

 

 

 

 

 

Anesthesia Team

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Dr. Berklee Robins, Anesthesiologist

Dr. Berklee Robins is pediatric anesthesiologist at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital/OHSU. Originally from NY, he has been living in Portland for the past 20 years. This will be his 10th medical mission. His academic interests include global health and global anesthesia issues and resident education. He recently completed a graduate program in Bioethics and Health Policy at Loyola University in Chicago. Dr. Robins has been instrumental in organizing the 2016 Anesthesia Team. This will be his second trip to Peru with the FACES Foundation.

 

 

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Brian Ryder, CRNA

Brian was born and raised in Grove City, Pennsylvania. He completed his undergrad work at University of Pennsylvania and then the Anesthesia program at Lankenau Medical Center in Philadephia, PA. Brian has worked at Kaiser for the 14 years, 8 of which he was the Chief CRNA. Brian has worked with Operation Smile for the past 14 years and this will be his sixth mission with the FACES Foundation.

 

 

 

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Dr. Uma Parekh, Anesthesiologist

Dr. Parekh completed medical school and anesthesia training in India. She completed her residency in the United Kingdom, and her fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesia in Canada. She currently practices at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center as an anesthesiologist. This year, Dr. Parekh will be adding Peru to her long list of countries benefited by her skill and passion. We are excited to have her join the FACES Team this year.

 

 

 

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Dr. Lindsey Loveland Baptist, Anesthesiologist

Dr. Loveland Baptist works with children full time as a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist, and as a mother of four young children. During her undergraduate studies, she spent two months at an eye hospital in India, which she describes as one of the best experiences of her life. After several years of training and practicing, she says, “the time has finally come again for me to give back and spend some very meaningful time in another country and culture.”  Welcome to FACES, Dr. Loveland Baptist!

 

 

 

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Dr. Ona Dachsangvorn, Fellow

Dr. Dachsangvorn grew up in Bangkok, Thailand. She commenced and completed her medical schooling in Texas, her residency in Virginia, and is in the middle of her fellowship at OHSU. Earlier this year, Dr. Dacnsangvorn returned to Thailand with Operation Smile for a medical mission trip. This will be her first year with the FACES team, and we couldn’t be more delighted to have her with us!

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Dr. Sarah Deverman-Ayoroa, Fellow

Dr. Deverman is new to the FACES Team, but she is a seasoned professional who has studied in Houston, Chicago, and now Portland. During medical school, she spent a month in Beijing, China working at Xuanwu Hospital. Her husband is a native of Bolivia, and he will be joining us this trip as an interpreter. We are so pleased that she is joining us in Peru this year!

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Dr. Luis Sauceda-Cera, Resident

Luis is a new member of the FACES Team this year, but enjoys the association of many FACES team members at OHSU. As a medical student, Luis volunteered with SMILE Network, and spent a week in rural Guatemala as both an interpreter and an anesthetist.  He will certainly be a valuable member of the FACES Team, and we are grateful for his willingness to serve.

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Chris Baylis, CRNA

Chris Baylis is a certified nurse anesthetist at Northwest Permanente. He brings with him the experience of tending to patients of all ages in all types of surgery and has practiced in 4 states. Chris has been on medical mission trips before, but this is his first year joining the FACES Surgical Team. Welcome, Chris!

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David Steinhardt, Medical Student

David is the winner of the Thompson International Fellowship, which sponsors 4th year medical students pursuing careers in anesthesia. Although new to the FACES team, this is not David’s first mission trip. In 2013, he spent three months in Honduras promoting public health and volunteering at a rural medical clinic. We are grateful that is he is bringing his passion to Peru.

OR Nursing Team

Theresa
Thersea Nera, RN

Theresa is an operating room nurse at OHSU’s South OR. She is been on multiple international mission trips, and over 5 medical trips with FACES (she’s losing count!) We are grateful for the enthusiasm and skill she brings to the team.

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Jenn Ploeger, RN

Jenn has been a perioperative RN for the past five years, focusing on ENT/Facial plastics and OMFS surgeries. She is passionate about volunteer work and is an energetic team member. This is Jenn’s third year volunteering with the FACES Foundation.

Heather Bemrose
Heather Bemrose, RN

Heather brings 4 years of operating room experience to the team, with a background in a number of specialties. Currently, Heather leads the nurses of the pediatric general surgery service at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. She is an active volunteer in her community at home, and we are happy she is extending her sphere of influence.

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Julie Syverson, RN

Julie is a pediatric operating room nurse who, like many of our team members, does not shy away from international service opportunities. In 2005, she traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, where she provided much needed basic medical care and public education. She comes highly recommended by her colleagues, and we are thrilled to have her on our team!

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Tawnya Bradfield, RN

Tawnya is a talented nurse who currently works in the South Operating Rooms at OHSU. Before joining the OHSU team, Tawnya worked at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center and Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. She is not only volunteering to give of herself and her talents during the FACES Surgical Campaign, but she has invited her husband Wade to also participate! We are very grateful to both of these remarkable individuals for their service.

Pre/Post-Operative Nursing Team

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Beth deLaney, RN

Beth has been a PACU RN for 9 years and currently works at Kaiser Westside. This year, she has taken the lead of the pre/post operative nursing team for the upcoming trip. She is very generous with her time and talents, and we count ourselves lucky to have her on the team. This is Beth’s 4th trip to Peru with the FACES team.

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Janet Nash, RN

Janet is a talented and compassionate recovery room nurse at OHSU. Her work in the pediatric unit makes her a wonderful asset to the team. This is Janet’s third trip with the FACES Foundation. We are so glad she has returned for 2016!

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Heather Foster, RN

Heather is an incredible source of skill, experience, and kindness. She has worked at Kaiser Permanente for 36 years, and currently serves as the Pediatric Department’s Team Lead. She has volunteered in a number of capacities on over 14 medical mission trips. This is her second year with the FACES Foundation, and we are so grateful to have her on the team.

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Morgan Luke, RN

Morgan is employed as a PACU nurse at Kaiser Permanente. Since 2008, she has practiced as an RN at Kaiser, where her skills have been cultivated and fine-tuned, and her kindness has touched the lives of many people. This will be Morgan’s second medical mission with the FACES Foundation.

Support Staff

Gabe
Gabe Ayoroa, Interpreter

Gabe’s expertise is finance, international business, and marketing. He has most recently worked as an investment analyst, but marriage to his wife Sarah has given him a first row seat to the medical world. Gabe has generously agreed to help the FACES team with interpreting and tech support. Welcome to the team, Gabe!

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Wade Houck, Photographer

Wade has an academic background in Anthropology, with a focus on influences and consequences on Developing World cultures by disease, childbirth practices/mortality, and poverty. He has a penchant for photography, and the perspective of a non-medical professional. He will be a great asset to the team!

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Makena Kerr, Patient Representative

Makena is an ambitious high school student who has made volunteering an integral part of her life. From the Key Club to the Red Cross to the Special Olympics, Makena’s influence blesses many lives. Makena is a cleft patient of Dr. Dana Smith’s. She will be a wonderful resource and inspiration to the families of the patients in Peru. Thank you for joining the team, Makena!

Barbara
Barbara Kerr, Patient Representative

Barbara is bringing a wonderful perspective to the team as a mother of children with born with clefts. Both of her daughters are adopted from China, and both were born with cleft lip and cleft palate. They are patients of Dr. Dana Smith, FACES Lead Surgeon, at OHSU. Her experience as a mom of a cleft patient makes her uniquely qualified to offer support to the patients of FACES and their families. We are so grateful that she will join us in Peru this year.

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Julia Davis, Interpreter

Julia is a very bright high school senior who will join FACES team as a medical interpreter. Six months ago, Julia traveled to Panama for a summer of community service and language immersion. Her love of people and passion for cultures grew, and she continues to seek ways to use her talents to enrich the lives of those around her. She will be a very valuable team member.

Evaluation Day 2015

 

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7:30 am. Arrival of FACES team to Hospital Belen of Lambayeque, Peru. We thought we were early for the day of patient evaluations, yet as we turned the corner from the hospital entrance, we were welcomed by over 50 waiting families.  Applause, smiles, and kisses. Off to a great start.

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This year, Drs. Dana Smith and Myriam Loyo, two excellent FACES Surgeons, joined us for the November trip and conducted the majority of the patient evaluations. Their surgical experience and Spanish fluency qualified them as true assets. Together, with Dr. Tom Albert, FACES screened 62 patients for surgery.

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Additionally, we had two incredible physicians willing to conduct preliminary pediatric exams on all the patients: Dr. Rob Nicholson, Emergency Room Physician from Bellingham, Washington, and Dr. Eduardo Kcam, general surgeon from Lima, Peru.

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We are very grateful to the staff of Hospital Belen. Dr. Rosario, the current Director and a surgeon himself, greeted us warmly, characteristic of Peruvian culture. And of course, we are grateful for Miryam Sime Amau, the executive assistant who sends the essential legal letters that allow us to enter Peru in the first place. Miryam, thank you!

Lucy Castro and Aralicia Agurto, representatives from the hospital’s social services department, came early and stayed late, assisting in the registration of dozens of patients. Romy Usquiano Nunez, pharmacist extraordinaire, helped us acquire immediate medication for a few of the younger patients. She is always making sure we have what we need.

Many people made this day a success. In addition to all of the hospital personnel and medical staff, we were fortunate to work alongside the Lions Clubs from Oregon and from Peru. They conducted vision testing, distributed reading glasses, and fed the patients throughout the day.

 

Kathy Albert, Dr. Tom’s wife, entertained the kids in the waiting area with sidewalk chalk and personal portraits. It felt more like a playground than a hospital!

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And the grand finale…

King Kong himself, envoy of the San Roque Candy Factory!

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Thank you, everyone!!

 

 

 

 

Dispatches from the Road – Day 1 in Peru

The FACES team is off and running on their annual winter trip to Peru! A small team, this year consisting of Dr. Tom Albert, Executive Director Angela Jensen, and board member Kelly Jensen are now in Peru with Peru director Delia Delgado. They will be conducting screenings to select which patients will be getting cleft lip and/or cleft palate surgery from the entire surgical team come January.
The FACES team is accompanied by a core group of Lions Club members from the Portland area. As usual, the Peruvian Lions met the group at the Chiclayo airport with much pomp and circumstance! “There must’ve been 30 yellow vests giving us hugs and kisses,” said Angela. “Everyone should experience that sort of hero’s welcome.”
Dr. Tom, Angela and Kelly left the day after Thanksgiving, with barely enough time to let the turkey digest. They traveled all day on Friday and arrived on Saturday. After settling down to the hotel, Delia took the FACES group to Belen Hospital (where surgeries are held in January). They met with Lucy, the hospital social worker, Romy, the pharmacist, and several other hospital personnel to go over details for the screening clinics. Both Romy and Lucy made a visit to Portland, OR, this past summer and were inspired by their visit to Oregon Health Sciences University (where many of the surgical team works). Since their trip, they have dedicated much more energy to the organization Belen Hospital, and they were quick to praise the systems they saw and proud to show their improvements. Angela was impressed by Romy and Lucy’s ‘call-to-action’ from their trip to visit the team in Portland.
“They are incredible women, and I saw very clearly an intangible result of international travel,” said Angela.

The Peña Córdova Family

The Peña Córdova family are coffee farmers who live in San Ignacio, Cajamarca, about a day’s journey south of the FACES hospital. Three of their six children who ranged in age from 2 years to 14 years had clefts which had not been repaired. Following encouragement from James Sanchez, a member of the Lions Club in San Ignacio, and Mercedes Uriarte Latorre, the director of health and nutritional support for the Cafe Femenino Foundation, the family sought out the help of FACES to correct their children’s clefts. With support of the Lions, and drawing on their own resources, the family traveled 20 hours by bus each way to attend a FACES patient evaluation in early December 2013. They made the same trip again in January 2014 for their surgeries and all three cases of clefts were repaired.

In early March, the Lions Club conducted a medical campaign in two hamlets near San Ignacio, and the family’s son Jerson volunteered to accompany Lion Teresa Bancallán in order to tell his story to encourage others to overcome their fears of going far away to receive surgery. (Talk about a real poster child!) While there, Teresa saw the whole Peña Córdova family and was able to report that all three children who received cleft surgery are doing great!

Additionally, the general manager of a network of television stations in northern Peru, Alberto Priano of TV Norte, is a Lion and a strong supporter of FACES. Alberto sent a TV reporter to interview the Peña Córdova family just after their surgeries. The report (in Spanish) can be seen HERE.

A good example of how FACES has been able to be a catalyst for bringing so many people together while reaching out to those in need, the Peña Córdova’s family story is also indicative of the trust the people in the community have in FACES. May their story help inspire others to come to FACES and the Lions Club for care.

Jerson Yodan, age 14; Geibi, age 4; and Deiler Carlos, age 2, along with their parents and Dr. Tom Albert and Kelly Jensen before surgery.
Jerson Yodan, age 14; Geibi, age 4; and Deiler Carlos, age 2, along with their parents and Dr. Tom Albert and Kelly Jensen before surgery.

 

The Peña Córdova children in March 2014, two months post-surgery.
The Peña Córdova children in March 2014, two months post-surgery.

Peru Lions Use Training and Put on Vision Campaign

The Lambayeque Lions, close partners of FACES Foundation, are at it again and have put on a massive vision and hearing campaign in Lambayeque, Peru. In December 2013 members of the Lions Clubs from the Portland area visited the Lambayeque Lions to present them with equipment purchased using a Lions Club International Foundation Grant, and continue training them on how to use this equipment. The Lambayeque Lions have surely been putting this training to good use!

At this screening, they handed out hearing aids and over 300 pairs of glasses at the Municipal Senior Center. Great job, Lions! We are proud to have such a wonderful partner organization.

Another FACES First – Surgeries at Hospital Regional

This dispatch was written by Chris Dickey, the FACES 2014 Goodwill Ambassador. Chris, who was also the 2013 Goodwill Ambassador, has been helping with all aspects of the surgical trip planning and execution.

Dr. Tom has been in discussions for a year with the new Regional Hospital, a large, state of the art facility located about 20 minutes away from Belen Hospital.  FACES desires to have a back up facility for its work and this one, being so new, is perfect.  The possibilities are three-fold.  Complex and high risk cases that may require more sophisticated equipment could be performed there.  Also, we could increase the number of cases each trip with only one additional surgeon and anesthesiologist because the hospital could provide the pre – and post-op nurses and the OR nurses.  Finally, if FACES succeeds in scheduling a second surgical trip per year, it is possible the new hospital could become the primary site for the second trip if Belen Hospital cannot accommodate a second trip.  For our yearly trip, Belen Hospital donates the use of three of its four ORs for a week, which is a significant disruption to the hospital’s schedule.  On the other hand, the five ORs at the Regional Hospital can each accommodate 2-3 surgeries at a time.  However, the ORs are currently underutilized because the hospital lacks sufficient anesthesiologists to run them all.

Today, all of Dr. Tom’s groundwork paid off.  Half of the FACES team went to the new hospital to perform what was not only the first FACES cleft repair in the new hospital, but also the first cleft repair that has ever been done in the Regional Hospital.  One-year-old Miguel suffers from both a cleft lip and palate.  He is significantly underweight, as most of our patients are, because he has so much trouble eating.  He has never been able to nurse, and he can only drink from a bottle with a special nipple.  Teresa, the leader of the Lions Club’s involvement with the FACES campaign, provided the special nipple as soon as she found out about Miguel in November.  She provides this kind of personal attention to as many of the patients as she can.

Miguel comes from a small town about an hour and a half away by bus.  The family lives in the rural area around Morrope, and Miguel’s dad works as an agricultural laborer while Miguel’s mom, Lucita, takes care of Miguel and his two older brothers ages two- and three-years-old. Lucita found out about FACES when she was visiting a posta or local clinic.  As part of their work, the Lionesses put up posters about FACES in as many clinics as they can get to.  So when Lucita came into the clinic with Miguel, the nurses were able to tell her about the work FACES does at Belen. Lucita brought Miguel to the screening clinic in December and was scheduled for surgery for this trip.  Teresa arranged for Lucita and Miguel to stay with Teresa’s cousin while they were here. Such generosity on the part of the Lions Club is standard operating procedure.

This morning little Miguel had his lip repaired.  He was a perfect charmer before the surgery, but now he can grow up without the stigma of a cleft lip. We also hope he will be able to eat better now that his teeth are better aligned.  We will look for him again next year to repair his palate so he can begin to talk.  His future may involve additional surgeries involving bone grafts in the gum, and hopefully a final revision when he is about 15, when, like all teenagers, he will probably care a lot about his looks.  But right now, he couldn’t be any cuter.

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Hospital Regionale from the outside.
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Miguel and mom prepare for surgery. Miguel was the first ever cleft repair to happen at Hospital Regionale.
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Miguel.
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Kelly Jensen, of FACES, helps prepare Miguel for his cleft lip surgery.
A glimpse into Miguel's surgery.
A glimpse into Miguel’s surgery.
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A sneak peak of Miguel after his surgery. He is doing great!

Dispatches from the Field – Day 2

This dispatch was written by Chris Dickey, the FACES 2014 Goodwill Ambassador. Chris, who was also the 2013 Goodwill Ambassador, has been helping with all aspects of the surgical trip planning and execution.

We had two heart-warming reunions today with families from last year.  Little Dryon had his lip repaired by FACES a year ago and was due to have his palate repaired this year.  His family could not attend the screening clinic in December, but they were at the hospital bright and early waiting for us on Sunday.  Luckily, Dryon was a perfect candidate in good health with an uncomplicated repair, in addition to being an adorable 16-month-old toddler.  He was told to come again today and to be ready for surgery just in case.  A cancellation occurred and he was able to have his repair.  It is hard to describe the feelings of his mom, but the picture is eloquent.

 The second returning patient today was Jasmin, another beautiful toddler.  Like Dryon, she had a lip repair last year and was returning for her palate repair this year.  Last year we were deeply moved by her mother as she held Jasmin after surgery and sang her a beautiful song with tears in her eyes.  Today we learned more about that song.  Her mom had an ultrasound at five months into the pregnancy and was told her daughter would be born with a cleft.  Armed with this knowledge, she searched for a special song for her special daughter.  Jasmin’s aunt found one with just the right theme – “I will fight for your happiness.”  There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

P1010127 A photo of Dayron from the 2013 Surgical Trip.

P1040424 Dayron and his mother this week! He looks fantastic!

Dispatches from the Field – Surgical Team Arrives in Peru

This dispatch was written by Chris Dickey, the FACES 2014 Goodwill Ambassador. Chris, who was also the 2013 Goodwill Ambassador, has been helping with all aspects of the surgical trip planning and execution. 

The 2014 surgical trip is underway – and what a welcome we have received.  The women from the Lions Club were at the airport in force with warm smiles and hugs to greet us.  Delia, Teresa and the whole gang were there.

And when we arrived at the hospital on Sunday morning, it was clear that the word was out that the “blue people” were back.  Last year it took until Wednesday for the word to spread and for walk-in patients to arrive to be screened in the hopes that they could have surgery.  Not this year!

Waiting patiently was a crowd of families whose kids were not on the schedule and who had been unable to be at the screening clinic in December.  Dr. Albert screened at least 15 kids, and a large percentage of them were from last year.  What a thrill to see that all the 4-month-old babies had turned into active toddlers with wonderful smiles!  The parents were warm in their greetings and proud to show their children off.  And I know from last year that the FACES doctors will do everything they can to work at least some of them into the schedule to repair their cleft palates, the second stage of cleft repairs.

Seeing these courageous families who had travelled for hours in the hopes of being seen is the strongest argument that can be made for increasing our fundraising efforts to finance a second surgical trip each year.  The need is so great and the outcome of these surgeries is so life changing.  Turning them away will be heartbreaking.

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