Milestones…..and bringing on new energy. The Luxor mission was #257 for Rotaplast, #84 for mission co-founder Dr. Angelo Capozzi, and the very first for Surgeon Dr. Chris Costanzo, Surgeon Dr. Simon Chummar and his wife Asha, Anesthesia Resident Chase Fitzgerald and PACU Nurse Benjamin Kimelman. The team bonded quickly!

Pictured above is Craniofacial Surgeon Chris with Angelo. Three years into his retirement, Chris awoke one morning with a desire to go on a medical mission, to “start paying it forward”. He learned about Rotaplast through a neighbor who ran the Professional Education Society that he had traveled and lectured with since 2003. He met Angelo, and the rest is history. In Chris’ words, “It’s been a great experience with a team of wonderful, caring professionals to work with, complex surgeries and appreciative family members.”  And he’s ready to go again!

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Simon practices in Dubai. He brought his wife Asha with plans to celebrate their 30th anniversary after the mission. Pressed into service during the mission, Asha was a great help keeping things flowing in the wards. Anesthesia Resident Chase trained at UC Davis under Dr. Neal Fleming, Medical Chair of Rotaplast BOD.  Dr. Fleming encourages his residents to pursue volunteer service and Rotaplast has benefited from the referrals. Dr. Leonard Lee and Dr. Jeff Tully, both of whom trained under Neal, were also on this mission. Chase’s positive energy, including a few dance moves in the OR, kept all of us upbeat.

PACU nurse Benjamin has known about Rotaplast as long as he can remember. He works at St. Francis Burn Center in San Francisco, where his mother and Paula Fillari have worked. He’s been looking forward to joining the team and from the looks of this photo I think he’s hooked. Competent and compassionate, he had a sideline of helping a couple of older volunteers (historian included) with their tech issues.

A gallery of these dedicated professionals in action: