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We’re Back: The Woolf-Parsley team and their 17th year!

Team 797 is full of long-term and new volunteers, specializing in orthopedics, with a focus on hips, knees, and trauma surgeries. Between February 24th to March 2nd – The team was able to complete 50 surgeries and 63 procedures, as well as see more than 109 patients in the mobility clinic, with 86 chairs and 4 pediatric cases. Orthopedic surgeries play a vital role in restoring mobility and enhancing the quality of life for individuals and families affected by various musculoskeletal conditions, birth issues, and moto accidents.

Throughout the week, there are numerous stories of the profound impact the team had on our patients, as well as the lasting impression the people of Guatemala had on our volunteers. One of our patients shared – “I found hope here” after receiving surgery and as one of our volunteers shared “it’s helped me restore faith in humanity”.

The Power of Compassion and Collaboration: “Where do we see God in what we’re doing?”

This mission trip is truly a collaborative effort, combining the expertise of orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, scrub techs, physical therapists, translators, wheelchair assemblers, and various other professionals to come together for God’s work! These dedicated individuals shared a common goal – to utilize their expertise and resources to provide life-changing orthopedic surgeries and treatments to patients who are in desperate need. Through their shared compassion and expertise, the team worked tirelessly to transform lives and bring hope to communities where specialized orthopedic care is scarce.

Reviving Mobility, Inspiring Faith: “Show love in deeds, not in words”

This week’s theme of “show love in deeds, not in words” was evident as our faith showed up in our various areas of expertise. We saw several trauma cases, where patients like Wendy, Olga, and Milton received life-saving care for previous injuries that included removing old hardware, addressing critical infections, and then feeling a renewed sense of hope for the future. We also had other patients like Moses and Gladis who have not been able to work for years due to extreme chronic pain, and received a new hip and knee that will change their entire quality of life. Both are already up and walking again, and looking forward to supporting their families once again! Finally, we had our physical therapists and mobility clinic offering wheelchairs, physicals, fittings, and teaching exercises to enhance strength and movement.

The impact of orthopedic surgeries during our trip went far beyond the operating room. For patients living with debilitating conditions such as fractures, joint diseases, or congenital deformities, the surgeries alleviated pain but also restored mobility and independence. This newfound ability to walk and perform routine tasks profoundly transformed our patient’s lives, opening doors to educational opportunities, employment prospects, and social integration. The ripple effect of a successful orthopedic surgery reaches not only the patient but also their families, communities, and future generations.

Challenges and Faith’s Rewards: “Where do we find God in the world?”

Volunteering on mission trips in orthopedic surgeries comes with its own set of challenges. Varying and limited resources, cultural and language barriers, and logistics constraints are just a few of the obstacles that volunteers encountered throughout the week. However, the reward of witnessing a patient take their first steps, seeing the joy in their eyes, receiving an amazing hug, and feeling the gratitude the patient and their community make these challenges worthwhile! The kindness and selflessness demonstrated during this mission trip transcends borders, showcases the greatness of Faith in Practice, healthcare professionals, and volunteers coming together to make a positive difference, empower lives, and foster sustainable change within widespread Guatemala communities.

Thank you: Gratitude Leads to Generosity

A very special THANK YOU to Zimmer Biomet for their partnership, providing implants to improve mobility and quality of life for the local patients in Guatemala. Finally, we couldn’t do this without our friends and family members that step up while we’re away – so big hugs for the extra helping hands, near and far, from Antigua.

-Meaghan Gallacher