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Unwritten

“I want to thank the surgeons and the nurses with all my heart for their work…It means so much to me.” — Ishmael’s mom As the last patient is wheeled to recovery, boxes are being packed and stacked, I look around the room and realize how much we haven’t captured with words and pictures that I wish we could share about this life changing week…   “El Salvador is my favorite… the staff is so gracious, and the people are so happy despite the poverty and lack of resources” — Keller Matthews, Anesthesia “I am afraid. I have had 5 surgeries. I hope this one will be my last” — Miriam, age 27 “I love to come on these trips because I can help make people whole” — Liz, Post Op “I am speechless!” — Victor’s mom “This trip affirms that I love what I do” — Laura Guerrero, Triage “These kids face lifelong surgeries and come back to us...

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Unwritten

As the last patient is wheeled to recovery, boxes are being packed and stacked, I look around the room and realize how much we haven’t  captured with words and pictures that I wish we could share about this life changing week… “El Salvador is my favorite… the staff is so gracious, and the people are so happy despite the poverty and lack of resources” – Keller Matthews, Anesthesia “I am afraid. I have had 5 surgeries. I hope this one will be my last” ~ Miriam, age 27 “I love to come on these trips because I can help make people whole” ~ Liz, Post Op “I am speechless!” ~Victor’s mom “This trip affirms that I love what I do” ~ Laura Guerrero, Triage “These kids face lifelong surgeries and come back to us year after year…” ~Alisa, Speech Pathologist “The minimum wage here in El Salvador  is $243 per month” ~ Lya’s father “I was blown away by the...

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Ordinary People

“I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people                                 living ordinary lives.”                                                                                                                     ~Tracy Chapman I have walked up and down the long hallway of the hospital perhaps more than a hundred times each day this week. This is the hallway where all of our families wait before, during, and after surgery of their child. Some families appear anxious, others more stoic, but the families look at each and every Austin Smiles team member with trust, respect, and gratitude. They are as thankful to me...

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The Celebration of Life Tour

“Make the best of every day and appreciate every day you have”                       ~Linda Morrow Austin Smiles – The Austin Plastic Surgery Foundation was officially formed in 1987. That year, Linda Morrow was working in the Main Operating Room at St. David’s Hospital where she assisted on many of the plastic surgery cases for many of the Founders. At the time, she was a single mom and unable to join a mission trip. “One day…” she thought. Life got in the way, but finally in 2010 she had her first opportunity to assist Dr. Turner in Veracruz. She was so touched by the needs that she cried every day – crying when a child was reunited with his parents, and crying when the parents of little girl, who hid her hands out of shame, were told there was no surgery the doctors could provide for her hands, which had no bones....

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Pixie Dust

“All you need is faith and trust and a little bit of pixie dust!” ~ Peter Pan The need is great here in El Salvador, but there are only so many patients the Austin Smiles surgeons can squeeze into the four very long days of surgery this week. Most of the spots are allocated on Sunday to the families who are fortunate enough to both know that the Mission Team is coming and have the ability to get to the hospital that day.   As the week continues, word spreads and more parents arrive hoping a child can be evaluated and assisted. Amazingly, no patient is ever simply turned away. Each patient is evaluated and some kind of guidance, support or intervention is provided by the team of specialists including surgeons, a dentist, and a speech pathologist. Tiny baby Katherine is a patient who arrived early Monday morning with her mother and father, who hoped that Austin Smiles could repair her...

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