A Patient's Story

Lester's story was collected for us by our partners at Companeros en Salud.
Lester stood out among the 15 toddlers that arrived at Companeros en Salud to Obras Sociales, a bilateral cleft lip has a more shocking appearance than the other cleft lips. However, his smile and anxious arms always open for a hug, it is hard not to love him.
Lester's story is a special example of human compassion, of people going to great lengths to help those they don't know, for Lester is healthy and on his way to a normal life due to people who have no relation to him.
Lester's parents abandoned him in a hospital extremely malnourished when he was 3 months old.  Doctors there thought he would surely die.  However, Lester pushed through and survived with the help of the hospital and a few supplies from Companeros en Salud.  With incredible persistence from the doctors and nurses at the hospital, Lester reached the normal weight for a child his age and size.  Lilind, Lester's caretaker and nurse at the hospital, remembers how difficult it was to feed him, "Of course everything had to be liquid.  When you fed him his food rarely went down successfully."
But just when Lester reached a healthy state he got sick, causing him to lose a lot of the weight everyone had worked so hard to put on.  After a month of losing this weight, other complications arose.  Lester developed a problem that Lilind called "derrame pulmonas".  Lilind explained that liquid was collecting in his lungs.  With this latest setback piling on top of the fact that he was no longer sufficiently nourished after his illness, Lester's caretakers of nurses and doctors again questioned his survival.
Nevertheless, Lester was somehow able to push through, yet again.  When he reached his 1st birthday, he was finally healthy enough to attempt surgery on his cleft lip;  the next step toward a normal life.  Lilind had been in contact with Companeros en Salud from the start, so when the medical mission came to their area to triage patients, she jumped on the opportunity.  As soon as Lester made the list of patients to be operated on, the doctors and nurses of the hospital started fundraising to bring him to Antigua for the operation.  They eventually raised enough money to cover travel and food expenses.
It took Lilind and Lester about 8 hours to arrive in Antigua.  Lilind was sacrificing a week's salary working as a nurse, but she brings no attention to herself.  "I am so grateful for what these doctors have done.  The people here are so grateful," Lilind said with sincerity, "what they have done for Guatemalans is a great work. Without them, there is no opportunity for people like this to get help."  Lilind paused for a moment and looked over at one of the volunteers.  She though out loud about all the sacrifices, including time and money, that all of these people on the Faces of Hope Team make to help.  "They surely have a great heart and great love," she uttered with a smile.