So Many Highlights – Liberia 2017

How can you pick something about today to highlight, when every moment has been spectacular?! How do you choose one patient to feature, when each precious face has made life so much sweeter?

This is my first experience with Children’s Surgery International AND my first trip to Liberia, which is amazing because I am Firestone’s very own Mrs. Don Darden. My husband is the Director of Administrative Operations for Firestone Natural Rubber Company, and is here in Liberia almost as much as he is home!

Today was my chance to be in the operating room with the CSI staff and our Liberian patients! The first patient was Habakkak, a sweet, tiny 3-month-old baby boy. He was having a unilateral cleft lip repair. I watched as ENT Drs. Phillip Chaffin and Jon Robitschek worked their magic and perform what most certainly was a life-changing operation on such a little one.

Next up was AB, a 9-year-old boy having the same type of surgery. He had been mocked in his community, and has had significant difficulty eating and speaking. When his aunt came to the post-op room to see him after surgery, she smiled the most radiant smile. “Now, AB can go to school,” she said. He has never attended school because of his medical problems!

These dedicated CSI medical professionals give up the comforts of home to travel great distances (using their hard-earned vacation days) and donate their services so children – and sometimes adults – can live a better life! To see these doctors and nurses carrying their young patients in their arms to and from the operating room is something I will never forget! CSI is making a difference in Liberia and across the world. I just hope I get the chance to serve with them again very soon!

– Janet Darden, CSI Volunteer

more photos from Liberia.