This is my first time on a Rotaplast mission and it has changed me forever. The days are long and tiring but not nearly as much as they are for the parents and children, many of whom have traveled days to get here and then wait patiently to ensure that their child gets necessary surgery. The work is humbling and rewarding. The change that will take place in the lives of the patients and their families is immediately evident. The parents and children are so grateful for what we do that they constantly shower us with wishes for a blessed life forever.

My primary assignment is patient transportation, coordinating with the doctors and nurses and taking the parents and children from pre-op to the staging area immediately outside of the OR. Making sure that the patients are ready and waiting when the surgical team is ready to start is critical. Clearing the way for the patients as we transport them from the OR to PACU, then from there to the recovery room and comforting them along the way as needed is also part of the work. I am also available as a second translator on the team whenever needed to facilitate the communication between the medical staff and the parents or anyone who may need it.

The first day was clinic and I started it assisting our highly focused and patient-centered pediatricians who were examining the children, clearing them for scheduling or giving them medicine and advice so that they could return for later consideration, Every child came to us with their own unique and amazing story. Behind the deformities of the lips and mouth are children who are beautiful in so many ways; we want to help them all.

I also work with our very caring speech pathologist who would talk to the parents of those we would not be scheduling for operations such as underweight babies – this was tough. She would provide help by advising them about how to best feed and care for their children with the hope that they could return with a healthier child next year.

My greatest experience every day is working with a wonderful team, seeing the look of gratitude when a child is taken to the operating room, the look of wonder and joy as parents see their child for the first time after an operation, hearing the words of thanks and sharing them with the members of the team and knowing that with Rotaplast I can contribute to making a difference.

— Luciano de Sylva, Patient Transportation Coordinator, Rotary Club of Walnut Valley

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