In August of 2001, I followed a medical team to Campo Maior in the northern region of Brazil. Dr. Manny Pena of Naples and Dr. Steve Drew from Augusta, Ga. are volunteer doctors for Operation Rainbow, an organization dedicated to performing free orthopedic surgery for poor children and young adults in developing countries worldwide. The team, including nurses from Texas and Florida, traveled to a remote region of Brazil to perform surgery  for cleft lip deformities, believed to be the result of pesticides used by local farmers and affects both children and adults.

Due to hundreds of prospective patients and a time constraint of only 6 days, the team had to limit surgeries to a small percentage who had arrived in truck loads from the surrounding villages. It was sad to see how many children from this region suffer from this horrible condition. The doctors, both plastic surgeons, were at times, overwhelmed with the amount of children who needed this surgery, knowing they had to turn so many away.



Hundreds of children arrived in Campo Maior to receive treatment for their deformaties
Jessica, a 2-1/2 year-old, was one of the many children suffering from the cleft lip diformaty
Livia de Araujo Sousa directs the mass of hopefuls for screening by the doctors
Dr. Manny Pena screens one of the hundreds of children for surgery
A mother is frightened upon hearing her child has been selected for cleft lip surgery
So many mothers with their deformed children await surgery
Dr. Pena, left, agonizes over the choices he and Dr. Drew must make for surgery
Dr. Pena, right, performs surgery on a child fortunate to have been chosen from the hundeds
A young boy sees his reflection for the first time after cleft lip surgery, as his mom looks on
This girl's brother holds her hand as she recovers form surgery


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