Naaaaahhh! I was just messin’ with you. There are no villians in Rotaplast, just Heroes and Sidekicks. Lets meet a few of them!

Above is Josue: Josue is a Hero. He is 11 years old and in the 5th grade. When he grows up he wants to be a Chef! I cannot wait to see him on Top Chef! His mom says that his best dish is scrambled eggs with ham and sausage. BUT, he is also an accomplished artist, having already competed in several art contests. His trusty sidekick is Dr. Ekaterina Tsymbal. She is our Anesthesia Resident. Josue and Ekaterina are just grooving to some rockin’ roll in the OR to relax before surgery starts. This is Josue’s 5th cleft palate surgery. His cat’s names are Molly and Sam.

Here is Josue and with his most incredible Sidekick, his mom, on Sunday morning, the day after surgery. You can see where he gets his strength and bravery from!

Many people do not understand that repairing cleft palates/lip deformities is a long process requiring many procedures, over several years, to ensure that an individual regains full speaking and breathing capabilities. It’s an arduous journey starting at just after 3 months of age. These brave young people have shown us this week that they are more than up to the task.

Next up is Carla Perez, who is not quite 2 years old. You might think that she is just a Hero in training but you would be underestimating her. This is Carla’s 2nd operation. Carla’s mom is assisting her today but later, Carla hitches a ride, post surgery, into the PACU with our most effervescent OR Nurse, Mari Jose Kapunan.  MJ is from FL. There are a lot of very happy people on this mission, but its tough to beat MJ’s smile. You can see it bursting from one end of the surgical hallway, all the way down the hall to the other end.

Here is Carla the day after surgery with another one of our special SideKicks, Judy. Judy is our Ward Coordinator. She makes sure that all the patients are where they should be, when they should be and that they have what they should be, and, as you can see, she is also in charge of making all the Heroes laugh, all the time in post-recovery. Judy is EXCELLENT at her job!

Our final profile in courage is Yovanna: We don’t have favorites at Rotaplast. Its just to easy to connect with, and fall in love with all of these Heroes. But every once in a while one of them jumps out at you. Yovanna is one of those. She is 15 years old and in the 11th grade. She loves Queen music (and the movie), so we were instantly best friends.  She has 2 dogs (I have 3, we are practically twins!). When she is a little older, she plans on studying medicine or law (probably both) This is her 4th surgery for cleft palate, her first one was at 2 mos (go Mom!). She had to travel 7 hours by bus to get here. She plays volleyball and swim at school (which is where our similarities end because I only WATCH volleyball and swim). Here she is below with her beautiful mother.

Yovanna was all smiles on Sunday, Post Op day and insisted on her picture being taken with all of her Sidekicks. Here she is just one of the many with her surgeon, Dr. Joseph Benacci:

One of our most important Sidekicks is this little guy, Lambykins. His job is to entertain the Heroes right before surgery and relax the parents. Today is Sunday and he is resting but tomorrow, Monday, he and all the other SideKicks will be back on the job. See you then!