"I have been like this for three years, without enjoying a meal. No water.
What I most want is that they can rebuild me, I wish this for my children, they are still small.
I mainly want to thank you for taking the time to come here I am very grateful to God and to you and I have many hopes that can help me. I need to recover to be for my children. I have visited the wonders that you do as they help people. They need it."
San Salvador, El Salvador 2017.
Maritza is a domestic violence survivor. She was visiting her children's father when she was allegedly shot in the face by her ex-partner. She survived, but lost her jaw. She must use a trach to keep her airway open and a feeding tube for sustenance which she uses herself. She will need multiple procedures, extensive surgical teams, and ample time to reconstruct her jaw. There is not a single surgeon in her country of El Salvador that is able to help her -- they lack the qualified skill set, equipment and team to tackle such an extensive and severe case. She must await traveling to the U.S.
San Salvador, El Salvador 2017.
Angelica's parents prop her up in a homemade device that is meant to improve her muscle mass in hopes that one day she will crawl - or walk - on her own. Angelica has a facial cleft, a condition of which she likely would not have survived if it were not for the urgent effort to bring her to the States for a series of surgeries. Unfortunately, the shape of her cranium put exceptional pressure on her brain, likely impeding her development. She is nearly 4 years old and cannot crawl, talk, walk, eat, or dress herself without help from her dedicated parents.
Usulután, El Salvador 2017.
Angelica is dressed by her mom in their home in Usulután, El Salvador. 2017.
"I want to look normal and like everyone else."
Miguel de Jesus suffered a sinus infection as an infant that cost him his entire nose and proper internal function. His mother sells 65 lbs of handmade tortillas a day to help cover the costs of his medical needs. Miguel is stable, so has yet to make the "priority list" for surgeons apart of international teams. He awaits the surgery that will give him the structure and function of a nose, as there is not a single surgeon in his home country will operate on him.
San Salvador, El Salvador. 2017.
A young man with Cruzon's Syndrome. He is losing his vision and suffers from debilitating headaches due to the tremendous pressure the shape of his cranium inflicts on his eyes. His need for surgery that will relieve his daily pain is critical, though no surgeon is able or willing to offer treatment in his country. San Salvador, El Salvador. 2017.
Emely draws in her home. Emely has Treacher Collins syndrome. She was fortunately able to receive a critically-needed surgery when an international team visited San Salvador. She was also able to receive a hearing aid device. She will need a new one every year or so. Santa Ana, El Salvador. 2017.
Lourdes has Crouzon's syndrome. Although her mother is a practicing doctor of medicine, Lourdes is facing many barriers in seeking more surgeries to improve not only her appearance, but also her ability to breathe through her nose. She does not presently make the "priority list" for a craniofacial procedure, as she is in a stable condition. San Salvador, El Salvador. 2017.
An international plastic surgery team passes through the hallways of a hospital. Veracruz, México. 2017.
Military Hospital, San Salvador, El Salvador. 2016.
Nathaly's craniofacial team discusses her procedure while she is under anesthesia. She underwent a procedure that improved her jaw structure meant to improve her speech, eating, and overall quality of life. San Salvador, El Salvador 2016.
Kevin rests outside of the surgical prep area in the Military Hospital in San Salvador, El Salvador. Kevin was born with a cleft lip, and underwent multiple procedures to improve his functionality and appearance. He spoke of facing the traumas of growing up 'different', or not fitting the socially accepted norm and learning self-acceptance. San Salvador, El Salvador 2016.
Kevin, nearly a year after his final surgery. San Salvador, El Salvador. 2017.
Notes from San Salvador, El Salvador. 2016.