Category Archives: Mexico

Renewed Hope as CSI Concludes 18th Trip to Mexico

By Linda Sedgwick, CSI nurse volunteer

It’s the sweet smiles of children, and the tears of joy, relief and renewed hope in the eyes of fathers, mothers and grandparents that keep our volunteers coming back to Hermosillo, Mexico, year after year. 

The work accomplished by Children’s Surgery International (CSI) volunteers, St. Andrew’s Clinic, Voluntariado CIMA and CIMA Hospital Hermosillo is summed up in the photos of beautiful human beings, striving for a future filled with possibilities. Without the generosity of many, these children would likely not have access to the type of expert care provided. 

CSI volunteers are some of the most respected pediatric surgical professionals in their fields. Our Mexico trip is unique in offering a very comprehensive cleft program, including surgeons specializing in otolaryngology, facial plastic surgery and oral surgery. St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic provides critical, personalized follow-up during the course of the year between our visits and beyond.

Lucina Guadalupe is one of many children who have benefitted from the comprehensive care. She was born with a congenital syndrome that has posed significant challenges for her and her extended family. From birth to age 5, Luciana required several surgeries for heart and digestive problems. 

Luciana Guadalupe was healthy enough for cleft lip repair at age 4 and then palate repair at age 5. She has since been receiving orthodontic care from Dr. Venezia Jordan in Hermosillo. 

CSI volunteer oral surgeon Dr. Dan Sampson was hopeful that at this visit they could perform a bone graft to repair a large fistula/hole in her palate. Because of her complicated medical history, the team needed to improvise – taking tissue from her mouth to repair the fistula. Dr. Sampson and the team will see Luciana next year for a bone graft that will offer a more permanent solution to the recurring fistula. 

The entire team saw what a special girl Luciana Guadalupe is during her stay with us in Hermosillo. We look forward to her enthusiastic smile next year!

It is with great excitement that we have scheduled a second trip to Hermosillo this year, focused on cleft rhinoplasty surgery for teens who are completing the multistep surgical process. 

CSI volunteers consider it an honor to serve the children of the Sonoran state of Mexico and partner with such committed organizations serving their children.

September trip to Mexico complete

Here are some of the beautiful and brave faces of the 54 children receiving life-changing surgery this week. We are so proud of the dedicated volunteer teams from CSI that make these transformations possible!  And a special thank you to our partners at St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic, Voluntariado CIMA and Hospital CIMA Hermosillo for another successful collaboration!  

Transformations in Mexico

We’re excited to share a few transformations from our team’s work in Hermosillo, Mexico! More children received surgery today as the team bid farewell to those who were ready to go home. Thank you CSI volunteers for the life-changing work you do.

View more photos from the surgical trip to Hermosillo, Mexico on our Flickr site.

Eight children receive surgery on day one

Day one of surgery in Hermosillo, Mexico, complete! Eight children received life-changing surgery today. Thank you CSI volunteers, supporters and our awesome partners at St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic, CIMA Hospital Hermosillo and Voluntariado CIMA.

To keep patients, families, partners and volunteers safe, children receiving surgery this week have been tested for COVID-19 and are quarantining with a parent prior to surgery. Thanks to CSI volunteers, each child has received a colorful gift bag with items for play and distraction as they isolate. 

Surgeries in Mexico begin on Sunday

We’re thrilled that our surgical teams are returning to travel. Volunteers travel to Hermosillo, Mexico tomorrow and will begin surgery on Sunday. As always, CSI is grateful for strong partnerships with St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic, Voluntariado CIMA, and Hospital CIMA Hermosillo — thank you for making this work possible.

CSI surgical team returns to Mexico this week

This week, CSI returns to travel for in-person collaboration and care with our partners in Hermosillo, Mexico. Naila, Nikol, Santiago, Erick, Angel, Pablo and 18 other children are waiting for life-changing surgery from our surgical team! 


Reflections from My First Trip – Mexico 2019

Sharalee Walton, RN ~ CSI Volunteer

My trip to Hermosillo, Mexico with CSI was actually the first medical mission trip I had the pleasure of going on.  It had been a desire of mine for several years, but the right opportunity had not presented itself until recently. Like many medical professionals I went into my field because I wanted to help people in need.  Growing up, my favorite toy was my Fisher Price medical play kit. As a result, my dolls and Cabbage Patch Kids were in the best of health. Some of them even had check ups daily. 

Blowing bubbles to pass the time.

I have an interest in working with children with special health care needs, especially in the area of ear nose and throat surgery and oral surgery.  So this trip seemed like the perfect fit.

With St. Andrews Children’s Clinic founder, Coca Romero

As excited as I was to go on my first trip, I also had some anxiety. I had never practiced nursing outside of the U.S. and my high school Spanish was rust, to say the least.  When we landed in Hermosillo we were greeted like royalty. There were parents and children, volunteers from CIMA, and St. Andrews Clinic. There was a festive reception in the hospital lobby, complete with balloons, cupcakes and Star Wars storm troopers. One five year old girl, a former patient, sang Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World. There was not a dry eye in the room!   

Welcome ceremony hosted by Voluntariados CIMA

During this trip I had the privilege of serving in the recovery room. I witnessed parents and grandparents see their child for the first time after the surgery – tears of happiness,  expressions of joy, beaming with pride in seeing the lip or palate defect fixed. These experiences and connections with our patients and families are something I will never forget. 

My colleagues and I assisted 55 kiddos after surgery. I had the time of my life, and I can’t wait to go again.

See more photos from Mexico here.

Lube-Tech Day – Stories of Transformation

The strong support that CSI receives from Lube-Tech and Bame Foundation has allowed us to be here in Hermosillo, Mexico and help young and older children continue with their progression to living a normal life.  Thank you so much to all the employees for your support! Thank you, Lube-Tech. Here are just a few of the stories from the Lube-Tech day of life-changing surgeries:


Axel and his grandma ready for surgery

15-year old Axel lives with his grandparents in Ciudad Obregon, more than 3 hours by bus from Hermosillo. His parents have been out of the picture for as long as he can remember. They are very poor and for years were unable to find doctors to repair Axel’s cleft lip and palate, let alone pay for it if they did. Axel did not go to school for years because of his condition. 

Axel’s grandmother never gave up hope, and when she learned years ago that a CSI team comes every October, she begged and borrowed the money for the bus fare to get them three hours north to Hermosillo. On their first trip, our team repaired Axel’s cleft lip, then in 2017 his palate. We told Axel to return for evaluation, and this year, we were so pleased to see Axel and his grandmother again. 

He needed a bone graft surgery, where a small piece of bone from the hip is used to fill in a gap in the upper jaw. (Some children with cleft lip or palate also have a cleft in the gum ridge of the upper jaw that holds the teeth). With this surgery complete, it will be easier for Axel to eat, his nose and teeth will be better stabilized, and his speech and appearance improved. We were so excited to hear that Axel is now going to school! He is taking a special computer course, and says that he wants to work with computers as an adult. 


Sonora is a very large Mexican state, and although everyone tries their best, it’s impossible to let every parent know that a free cleft lip and palate mission is coming to Hermosillo in October. Which is how we received a frantic phone call Monday from the mother of three-month-old Ian from their home five hours away in the tiny border town of Aguaprieta. They missed screening day, but could she please bring Ian for surgery to repair his cleft lip. When we said yes, they jumped in the car, arrived at the hospital at 1:00am. Ian’s mother was so excited she couldn’t sleep all night!

Ian and mom drove all night to get surgery.

Ian’s surgery went very well, and he woke up VERY hungry! When she saw her baby boy for the first time after surgery, Ian’s mother’s exhausted look changed to tearful excitement and love. That’s the best part: seeing the faces of the parents as they embrace their children after a successful surgery! 


Jose and his sister Cecilia came all the way from Nogales, Sonora. Jose is now 16, but he first connected to the St. Andrews clinic as a small child with a cleft lip and palate. St. Andrews brought him to Hermosillo to CIMA Hospital for the CSI mission, and over the years he has had several surgeries. 

Jose and Cecilia

Jose’s mother tragically passed away when he was 12 years old. His much older sister Cecilia took over care of Jose, as well as their younger brother. “It was so chaotic at first,” she says. “The boys were 12 and 10. I didn’t know how to be both mom and sister, let alone a grieving daughter.” Cecilia continued to bring Jose every year to Hermosillo to be evaluated by CSI. 

This year Cecilia brought Jose for rhinoplasty surgery so that Jose will be able to breathe much easier. The surgery will also help his speech and ability to be understood. Which is important, because he now plans to follow in his sister’s footsteps and pursue additional training and ultimately a degree in electronics engineering. Cecilia and Jose are so glad to be here, and say “Thank you Lube-Tech for making this surgery possible!”

Screening Day – Mexico 2019

The 15th annual CSI mission to Hermosillo, Mexico got off to a rollicking start at 7 a.m. Saturday. We screened 108 children who came from all over the state of Sonora to see our surgeons. 

We are especially excited to be here for our Quincinera! We are celebrating the 15th anniversary of a unique collaboration between CSI, CIMA Hospital in Hermosillo, and St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic, based in Nogales, Arizona. Working hand in hand with our wonderful partners, we have been able to provide top-notch surgical and ongoing care for more than 700 children!

For me, one of the best parts about our unique partnership with CIMA and St. Andrew’s is that we are able to follow children as they grow and need subsequent surgeries, speech therapy and more. I love to see kids come back who I met five or six years ago when they were tiny, knowing that now they are growing and thriving because they have been able to receive life-changing care from CSI.

Marco is a perfect example. I met Marco on my first CSI trip to Mexico in 2013 when he received his first surgery for a cleft palate. He was an active happy toddler, and now in 2019, he came back to us a handsome and outgoing eight-year old. He will undergo speech surgery on Tuesday, which will allow him to be more easily understood. I’m so grateful for this collaborative relationship with CIMA and St. Andrews which allows us to provide this extended care for Marco and hundreds more. 

Melanie McCall ~ CSI Volunteer

Click here to see more photos from Mexico.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Suddenly, three days of life-changing surgeries and care have concluded, and we are finished. We are already planning for the next trip, exploring ways to collaborate to help more children and families. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a moment to celebrate this year’s work. We are deeply grateful for our partners at St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic and Hospital CIMA. 

We continue to be in awe of the passion, dedication and skill of our CSI team. Volunteers are the foundation of work – their skill, passion, flexibility and dedication are what makes this work possible.  We are so proud and grateful – Thank you team!

Kathy Clinch, MD
Jim Ducharme, CRNA
Markus Faeldonea, RN
Michael Fritz, MD
Jon Grischkan, MD
Karen Hick, MD
Cheryl Holihan, MD
Katie Houle, RN
Jamie Huffman, RN
Monisha Husom, NP
Corrina Kettner, CRNA
Charlee Kimmes, RN
Lora Koppel, RN
Paul Melchert, MD
Kaitlin Nelson – Medical Records
Megan Nolan, MD
Paul Peterson, DDS
Brianne Roby, MD
Maria Rubin, RN
Dan Sampson, DDS, MD
Megan Sparks – Logistics
Ana Vazquez Rojas, RN