Trans-equatorial Jessica Crosses Equator Again for Surgery by ICSF

In 2019 a non-surgical humanitarian team from the United States encountered an eighteen month-old girl in Ecuador named Jessica, born with a complete bilateral (two sided) cleft of her lip and palate. At first, the team didn’t know where to turn for help. That’s when Cheryl Dean, a member of the humanitarian team, decided to search the internet and find a team who had a reputation for doing careful surgery for children with clefts. She landed on ICSF’s website and after reading about ICSF’s values and goals decided to make the call. The only problem was that ICSF served its missions in neighboring Peru. That was a minimal obstacle however, and before long Jessica was signed up for ICSF’s November 2019 mission to Pucallpa, Peru.

All went well with the arduous 26-hour journey, as Jessica crossed the equator and arrived at the Pucallpa hospital for her surgery. Although the surgery was long and complicated, all went well. Jessica returned to her home in Ecuador, and her mother looked forward to ICSF’s return to Peru in 2020 for the surgery of the palate. However, a worldwide pandemic of historic proportion, COVID-19, swept the world and Jessica’s chance for palate surgery was cancelled.

Jessica before surgery by ICSF.

Jessica two years after her cleft lip surgery, and three days after her cleft palate surgery.

On the 13th of November, 2021, ICSF became the first cleft palate team to travel to an overseas surgical mission since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ground-breaking mission was held in Pucallpa, Peru, and Jessica was included for surgery along with local Peruvian children. Like Jessica’s first surgery, all went well again. She was watched for healing and complications, as ICSF does routinely, and discharged five days after surgery, across the equator again, to her home in Ecuador.

Design by Melissa Ventura, Development by Drew Bertola and Walter Martin.