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El Salvador 2017, Second Surgery Day

Second Surgery Day – February 21, 2017 Samuel – By Kristen Brown; photos by Sarah Carney San Salvador– On Day 2 of surgery, we want to highlight a baby whose big smile, happy disposition, and incredible transformation touched the hearts of the entire Austin Smiles team: Samuel, age 11 months.  Samuel and his mother, Vilma, traveled seven hours by bus from the Ahuachapán region of El Salvador for Sunday’s candidate screening and evaluation.  They waited for hours to be evaluated by our medical team, and Samuel never seemed to lose his infectious smile. Samuel is the youngest of five children.  Vilma stays home with the young ones while Samuel’s father works as a farmer.  Vilma previously tried to receive charitable surgery for Samuel through a Salvadoran hospital six times, but he was never selected.  The lack of pro bono resources combined with the high need for cleft lip/palate repair surgeries is simply too high. Vilma’s aunt heard an announcement on...

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El Salvador 2017, First Surgery Day

First Surgery Day – February 20, 2017 Elvis & Mirna – By Kristen Brown; photos by Sarah Carney San Salvador– Day 2 of our mission trip began with triage for the 11 patients scheduled for operations.  Dr. Quint Barnes and Nurse Kim Moreno evaluated each patient, took their vitals, and checked to make sure they had neither eaten nor drunk anything past midnight.  Once checked in and photographed by Junior League volunteers Michelle Hagans and Sarah Carney, patients put on green hospital gowns and begin the very long day of waiting for their craniofacial or cleft lip/palate repair surgery. Today we highlight the day’s two youngest patients: Elvis, age one year and five months, and Mirna, age one year and two months.  We remembered their beautiful faces well from the selection process on Sunday and followed them throughout the day of their surgeries. Elvis and his mom traveled from the Santa Ana region of El Salvador, about 1.5 hours by...

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Guatemala City Mission — Day 4

Some kids come in to the MPSC and they immediately catch your eye. That’s saying something because on the first day in the clinic there are people everywhere. Chairs lined down both sides of the hallway with kids sitting in their parent’s laps. Other families are waiting in the courtyard. Then there are the nurses and volunteers who are moving between rooms helping out where they are needed. But amidst all that movement, you find yourself stopping and smiling at a specific baby. Something about their face, the way they are bouncing in their mother’s lap, captures your attention. If you are lucky enough to speak Spanish, you can stop and chat. Or if you are like me, ask for an interpreter. Today I’d like to tell you about some of these kids who have captured our hearts this week.   Oneysi – 9yrs old The first things you notice about Oneysi are her curly hair and her shy smile....

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