Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - On November 1st and 2nd, the International Friendship Club (IFC) held their 3rd Cleft Palate Clinic & Surgery Program at its new location, the CMQ Premier Hospital here in Puerto Vallarta.
The IFC has sponsored these surgeries and supported the Cleft Palate Program (CPP) in Vallarta since 1986, with most of the money to support this endeavor being raised by the twice weekly IFC Home Tours. Hundreds of children born with this cruel defect have had countless surgeries, procedures, and therapies that have transformed their lives.
During the past year, dedicated volunteers Bill and April Miton stepped forward to take the reins of this program. Since the Regional Hospital was no longer able to host the program, through the amazing work of April and Bill the CPP program is now proud to call the CMQ Premier Hospital its new home.
The following letter written by them details the recent changes and successes the program has experienced and thanks the many people who have made this possible.
"With the help and support of the IFC, many changes, and hard work, we are anxious to announce our cleft palate clinic is continuing to provide the children of Vallarta afflicted with a cleft palate, much needed repairs and reconstruction.
Doctors from Guadalajara come and donate their time to perform surgeries on clefts and facial disfigurations. The doctors include: Dr. Rodolfo Beccerra, Dr. Ezequiel Fuentes, and Dr. Emigdio Llontop, along with their dedicated nurses Emma and Mari. Their work is monumental in the care and compassion for families who often travel from afar to see the doctors and have them help their children.
Many babies have their surgeries long before the parents ever could have imagined it possible. The follow up appointments done by Dr. Rivera, and speech therapy by Dr. Soccorro are most appreciated. Dr. Luz, our orthodontist, sees children on a regular basis to provide dental care and braces, as well as special appliances needed as the facial bones grow and develop.
Where would we be without this team of professionals?
In addition to Cleft Palate surgeries, the IFC and our medical teams are involved in reconstructive surgery for birth defects like webbed fingers and toes, missing and disfigured noses and ears, etc. Many burn patients have also received amazing care.
Directors Bill and April Miton and the countless volunteers look forward to seeing the doctors arrival four times a year for this essential project.
This program could never be as successful as it is without the countless volunteers from the IFC: Mary Carmen Pickup, for her endless hours organizing appointments and information for the children; Marlene Lopez and Marci who tirelessly spends time with the children doing arts & crafts; Joanne Quickstad and Patricia Mendez for their extensive knowledge and continued care for all the children; the owners of Quinta Pacifica properties who donate their condos where the doctors stay; restaurants like Ocho Tostadas, Daiquiri Dick’s, Prime 159, Ginger, and so many more to help keep the doctors and their team fed.
A special thank you goes to Susan Davalos, RN, for her continuous efforts to get the much needed medical supplies required to perform these delicate surgeries.
Thanks to Lic. Luis Villanueva Medina and his family, we are now able to use the CMQ Premier Hospital for our surgeries. The incredible talent and compassion from the staff makes even the toughest of cases easier. The programs run smoothly, the families are comfortable, and the facility is absolutely outstanding with all the equipment necessary to perform as many as 70 surgeries per year.
We have now completed three clinics at the CMQ Premier. There is a total sense of teamwork as medical staff and volunteers work together to provide not only the patients, but the families with moral support and understanding for these difficult times.
Working to reassure parents is always of the utmost importance as they worry for their children entering surgery. To see the smiles on their faces after their child returns to the hospital room brings so much joy, and helps us remember the importance of this program.
The hospital has outdone itself in the community by giving us this opportunity. The need continues to grow as the community grows. Vallarta's families need our help and support to continue growing.
More and more families are attending consultation appointments and no child will be denied. With that also comes the need for additional fund raising and donations to this program. A little goes a long ways in helping the cause.
It is a pleasure to be a part of the IFC's Cleft Palate Program. We will continue to work hard to keep the community and visitors to Puerto Vallarta informed of our progress."
If you would like more information on the IFC Cleft Palate Program, would like to volunteer your time, or make a donation, please feel free to contact the IFC at ifcvallarta(at)gmail.com or call at (322) 222-5466.IFC Cleft Palate Program
April and Bill Miton