ICSF Increases its Reach, Serves Inaugural Mission to Guatemala
Maria Jose Tager did not know if what she was looking for existed. As the head of International Relations for the Pediatric Foundation of Guatemala, she wanted to find a volunteer organization that would come to Guatemala and not just perform free surgery but do so with great care and precision — and take care of the patients as they healed after surgery. She and her foundation cared deeply about the children of Guatemala, and they didn’t want them to receive rushed surgeries or little or no aftercare.
In August 2014, Maria was searching the Internet and found the organization she had wished for, the International Children’s Surgical Foundation. The newly-found organization did not talk about numbers but rather about the importance of time and quality in treating poor children from poor countries.
Maria wasted no time in contacting ICSF President and Medical Director Dr. Geoff Williams to make an inquiry. Dr. Williams recalls, “I was thrilled that a country’s premier pediatric foundation would deliberately seek us out because of the way we take care of our patients.”
After a brief visit to Guatemala City a few weeks later, to make sure that the hospital was safe and had all that was needed, the mission was scheduled. In May, ICSF conducted its first mission to Guatemala, providing free surgery to children with cleft lips and palates and similar deformities. ICSF team member Heidi Davies, a surgical assistant living and working in Boise, Idaho (and also a native Guatemalan), commented: “I experienced a life-changing event. Through ICSF I established life-long friendships and fell in love with our patients! Thank you Dr. Williams!” I look forward to working with you once again!”
After the completion of the mission, Maria Tager told Dr. Williams how much the Guatemala Pediatric Foundation appreciated the unusually high standard of care given to the patients and invited ICSF to come back again. Dr Williams, of course, said, “Yes.”