Impressions from our first mission to Costa Rica

Dear friend,

Earlier this month I went to San Jose with a team from New York Presbyterian Hospital, led by Dr. Chai, it was an incredible experience. I took some notes while I was there and I wanted to share some of my impressions with you.

A baby under medical supervision with Surgeons of HopeI feel a little out of place, observing from the corner of this ICU, looking at the patients who were operated on during the week of the surgical mission. Some of them are still very sleepy, they struggle to breathe, but the nurses tell me that a few days from now they will be back at home with their families. I had a small role in this mission, but right now, I am very grateful to simply be part of this project. It is so humbling to witness how in a few days, a good team of doctors can turn a blue baby into a healthy child.

This was our first mission in Costa Rica, and trust me, a few days ago I was very nervous. When you prepare for a mission, you think of all the little things that could go wrong, and in this instance, there were many unknown factors. But when I look at little Britany, I know that it was all worth it!

Britany before receiving an echocardiogramI remember when her mother took her to the consultation room on Sunday, she was a bit frightened about the exam, but one of the doctors had an idea. He used his cell phone to find a children’s song, “I am Your Gummy Bear” on YouTube

We were all so relieved when Britany smiled and allowed the doctors to do the echocardiogram for her diagnosis. Her operation went very well! Now she is calm, even a little playful. It’s very soothing.

I keep thinking of this quote by Mahatma Ghandi, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it”. When I’m in New York City, doing some fundraising or sending emails all day, I sometimes feel like it is a paltry contribution to our cause. But right now, I know that I am a small part of a team that contributed to operate on 10 children and train 30 doctors. The people around me don’t realize it, but they revived my passion for this work.

A collection of images showing children receiving heart care with Surgeons of Hope

Surgeons of Hope is engaged in a marathon, an ambitious fight against heart disease in Latin America, and each of these children is a little victory. Those doctors around me are qualified, inspiring people, they will operate on hundreds of children, and together, we will win this fight!

You should be proud as well. You are a supporter of Surgeons of Hope and your contribution, no matter how large or small was important. It is making a difference. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love. Together we gave hope to many families, and we will give hope to many more. Thank you!

Every 30 seconds a baby is born with a life-threatening but highly treatable heart defect. Help us expand access to life-saving heart care around the world.

Charles-Edouard CATHERINE
Executive Director
Surgeons of Hope Foundation

Please click here to donate, or send a check (payable to Surgeons of Hope) to:

Surgeons of Hope Foundation
Attn: C. E. Catherine
One Penn Plaza, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10119

Your support means everything to us. The children of Latin America thank you! 

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