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On Saturday Morning 36 Lives Changed Forever

Special Guest Blogger: Jacquelin Sandoval When 36 professionals from across the United States join forces with a common desire to help mankind, a team is instantly created. The egos are checked-in at the door and the all-for-one spirit is unleashed. It is incredible to see how people of so many different walks of life can come together, bond and be extraordinary. Extraordinary is the only way to describe people who want to have societal impact. On this mission approximately 50 successful surgeries were completed in 4 days. A team of 36 people have changed the lives of 50 families in Guatemala. The only way to do this is to be part of something greater than yourself — which is a team. Each member of the Austin Smiles Guatemala mission knew that they couldn’t do it alone but together they could produce outstanding results, which they did! Not one surgery had complications and all the children have either gone home or...

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Angels on Earth: Grandmothers

The story of Ian’s supportive grandmother Special Guest Blogger: Jacquelin Sandoval There are medical miracles that many times we can’t explain…hint, that’s why they are referred to as miracles. Yesterday as I walked out of the operating room, I walked past the dark empty waiting area when an anxious grandmother jumped out of a seat and flagged me down. She asked me if her grandson Ian had return from surgery. I told her that Ian was still in surgery and that he was under the best possible care and not to worry. I sat next to Grandma Emilia and began a lengthy discussion. She shared that Ian was a miracle child because years earlier, Rosa (her daughter) was pregnant with a little girl who died 5 minutes after birth from spina bifida. Rosa believed that she would never have another pregnancy. When Rosa found out that she was pregnant with Ian she was super excited as she didn’t think it was...

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The Exchange between a Nurse and a Mother

This post is dedicated to the men and women in the nursing profession Special Guest Blogger: Jacquelin Sandoval Day 1 was a busy day for the Austin Smiles team; a total of 12 surgeries were completed during the course of the day. As I sit under the warm Guatemalan sun on day 2, reflecting on my first day I am overcome by emotions. There are moments in life that mark your existence and who you will be for the rest of your life. Today happens to be one of those for me. During the course of the 1st day there was a scene that repeated itself over and over, to be precise 12 times —each time it became harder for me to hold my tears back. A buzzing noise from the elevator informed us that the surgical team was coming down with a baby from the operating room. That signal sent the team into prep mode. As the elevator doors...

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Jonathan’s Story: Love, Dedication and Total Devotion

By Special Guest Blogger: Jacquelin Sandoval As the doctors raced between rooms clearing patients for tomorrow’s surgeries, I met a sweet boy named Jonathan. He was a quiet and mild manner 4 year old boy from the rural side of Guatemala. His happiness could simply brighten a room and make your heart melt. As the doctors cleared him for surgery I knew it was my time to sprint into action and learn more about this little boy. There are days that I’m a bit presumptuous and today was no exception, I “assumed” that the two adults with Jonathan were his parents. And I quickly ate some humble pie in Guatemala. Our little tiger had not arrived with his mother and father; he arrived with his 31 year old sister, Sandra and 56 year old father, Mr. Cap. They left their home approximately at 4 am and took a 3 hour bus ride into town to make their appointment on time...

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