Many of the patients and their families have heart touching stories surrounding the circumstances that brought them to the hospital. I found this story particularly interesting and felt the need to share it with you.
Little Diego and his mother Argelia are from a village named Aldea Rio Zarco. This rural village is predominately inhabited by indigenous Mayan Guatemalans. There are rumors circulating throughout Aldea Rio Zarco that it is unsafe to take their children to have their cleft lip & palate repaired because the "foreigners" performing the surgeries will steal their organs. As a result, there are many children in need to cleft lip & palate surgeries who do not receive such procedures.
In a neighboring village called El Estor-Izabal lives Isabella. She learned of Rotaplast through a commercial on TV. Isabella decided to travel several hours to visit Argelia and convince her to take Diego to have his cleft lip repaired. She assured her the rumors couldn't be true and it would be in the best interest for little Diego. She also promised to accompany them on the trip. Thankfully, Isabella convinced Argelia and they immediately began to travel to the hospital. Their journey to the hospital took over 72 hours on 5 different buses and on foot.
Here is Diego sitting for his registration folder photo
Diego and Areglia in the recovery ward
Areglia, Isabella and Diego
Argelia requested a picture of Diego and Dr. Hal, the surgeon who performed the surgery. She wanted to take it to her home village to show everybody that the rumors are not true. She is extremely happy with the outcome of Diego's surgery and wants all the other children in her village to benefit from Rotaplast's help. She said "the distance she had traveled does not compare to the service that Rotaplast provides."
Left to right: Dr. Hal (Surgeon), Diego, Areglia, and Dr. Kathy (Lead Pediatrician)