For all of the wonderful patients I have the pleasure of working with, I am very thankful. I am also grateful for the completion of another successful Operation Smile mission; this one to Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Let me begin by expressing my gratitude for all of your words and prayers of support that were emailed or delivered personally through my staff. Each time I am involved in one of these missions, I am reminded of the many blessings in my own life – family, friends, patients, and getting to do the work I love.
This was an exceptionally important mission for the Operation Smile organization in Bolivia as it was the first time that there were more local volunteers – doctors, nurses, and administrative staff – involved than volunteers from other countries.
It always astounds me how seamlessly the local and international parts of a mission come together to form a team that can achieve so much in so little time. Much of the credit goes to the training, preparation, and dedication of the mission coordinators, most of whom are newly graduated from college and represent an extremely caring and responsible side of humanity.
I’ve included a few photos for you so that you can see the difference $240.00 (the cost of one cleft lip or palate surgery) makes in a child’s life. Our Bolivian team was able to change the lives of about 120 children and, in turn, their families, as the social effects of cleft lip or palate deformities take their toll on everyone.
I came back from this Operation Smile mission filled once again with a renewed energy and appreciation for my life and the people in my life. These trips are always good reminders of what is truly important and I wanted to share this with you.
Dr. Mark Anton
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