MMFC celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Quito Mission at a ceremony attended by dignitaries and local partners in Quito during the October 2018 Mission. MMFC Co-Founders Dr. Rafael Barrera and Dr. Charles Badaoui presided over the moving ceremony. The occasion was marked by an exchange of awards and honors to recognize the dedication and service of so many contributors who make the Quito Mission possible. MMFC awarded special recognition to our host for many years, the Fundación Tierra Nueva, as well as to individuals Pedro Alvarez, Patricia Jarrín, Mary Kay Barrera, Fuad Dassum, Susana Chiriboga, Leonidas Naranjo and Claudio Crespo for their extraordinary contributions over 20 years. MMFC, in turn, was greatly honored to receive 2 special awards, recognition from the Quito Chamber of Commerce and the Fundación Tierra Nueva Hospital.
For Quito and other missions, MMFC attracts and retains an exceptionally talented medical team of volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, dentists and staff from the leading medical centers across the USA and England, including Massachusetts General Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, Northwell Health, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, and King’s College Hospital of London. As the team assembles in Quito, the air is charged with anticipation and esprit de corps of the highly motivated team members, many of whom have returned to Quito year after year. New volunteers (like me!) are warmly welcomed and put right to work readying for the busy week ahead.
Over one hundred fifty patients were screened on day 1 and the surgeons worked up a schedule for the demanding week ahead. For Quito 2018, 69 surgical procedures were performed, including primary cleft lip repairs on infants, bone grafts to repair cleft palates and other palate deformities, and a range of ENT procedures. Dr. Badaoui and the dental team performed dental procedures under general anesthesia on patients with special needs. As a new team member, I was struck by the respect, patience, courage and gratitude of the patients and their families. Many of them are far from home, having traveled great distances. Some have returned multiple times, year after year, for follow up surgeries. There were even several sets of siblings, multiple children born into a single family with abnormalities requiring repair. Notwithstanding the complexity of the surgeries, even the bone grafts which involve surgery at 2 sites (one to harvest the bone from the patient’s hip and a second to repair the cleft or fistula, along with multiple tooth extractions), almost every patient was able to be discharged the morning after surgery. The transformations that result from MMFC procedures are stunning and dramatic. I felt privileged to be a part of MMFC’s Quito 2018 Mission. In a matter of hours (and sometimes minutes), and with every procedure, MMFC is transforming youngsters and changing lives for the patients and their families forever.
– Claudia Gilman, Mission Administrator