“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.

Eagerly she again served the 2012 Mission Team, this time in Nicaragua.But three months later, she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Surgery and chemo followed….

Linda didn’t think she would be here for the 2015 El Salvador Trip, but she is sharing this story as she buzzes around OR 2, energetically preparing for her  15th surgery of this week, working with surgeons Chili Robinson and Pat Beckham, one of Austin Smiles’ founders.

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Maria’s mother asked for this photo with Linda, her daughter’s nurse.

She has titled this trip the Celebration of Life Tour…“You never know what’s ahead… I get out of this so much more than I could ever put into it.”

I think everyone can agree that Linda’s presence is a gift to all the patients, their families, and her teammates.

Linda is compiling a collection of photos from this trip. When she returns to Austin, she is going to create a book for the Cancer Connection in Austin – so that she can share with women as they are newly diagnosed. She wants to set an example.   “Make the best of every day you have and appreciate every day you have.”