March 28, 2017
Making a Difference Across the World
lastic surgery is not just about making people pretty, which is why Davis Law Firm has chosen to share this story about a client it is honored to serve. While touring several NetJets, Inc. aircraft this fall at the invitation of Randy Keith, Vice President of NetJets, Inc., Christopher Davis first met Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz.
Early in his medical career, “Dr. Joe” Gryskiewicz spent a six-month volunteer trip in the remote mountain regions Guatemala. However, his most meaningful experiences came from the Casa Feliz orphanage where many of the children suffered from cleft lips or palates.
Performing procedures to treat clefts for Guatemalan orphans was life changing for Dr. Joe when he saw firsthand how life changing it was for the children too, and sparked his interest in plastic surgery as a career.
Dr. Joe recalls one infant who travelled 36 hours by bus with her parents to reach the clinic. It was a unique situation- the baby and the mother had the exact same deformity of a one-sided cleft of the upper lip. “She was probably only 17 years old but looked a lot older, saddened by her condition and being an outcast because of her deformity,” he recollects.
Upon seeing them, Dr. Joe thought, “I can’t just fix the child and not help her mother.” He eagerly explained the mother he could fix her lip as well. With eyes cast downward, she sadly said, “No.” But Dr. Joe could not let her lip go un-repaired when he had the means to change it.
Using his best Spanish skills, Dr. Joe insisted she have her lip repaired the next day, all the while expecting her to still be hesitant. On the contrary, he says, “Her resolve evaporated and with a light smile, she said ‘If you say so doctor.’”
“They both turned out so beautiful,” Dr. Joe said. “When the mother looked in the mirror at herself and saw her baby, she just sobbed tears of joy.” This is why, more than 30 years later, Dr. Joe continues to travel annually to South American countries to operate on children with clefts and make a difference across the world.
So you can see, it’s more than just making people pretty.
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By Elizabeth Thornton