A life-changing experience with the Global Smile Foundation

Molly McDonnell

Being a part of the Global Smile Foundation (GSF) mission in El Salvador this past week has been such a blessing. To see these resilient kids go through so much is inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time. A few days after we arrived was screening day for all the children in need of cleft lip/palate surgeries. The families travel hours across the country with no promise of qualifying for surgery. Some were greatly disappointed to find out their child cannot have surgery due to current illness or preexisting congenital syndromes, and they must make the long journey back home. For others, it is a happy day filled with relief and gratitude for the foundation.

After a couple days working in the recovery room here at Benjamin Bloom Hospital, my favorite part of the experience has been watching the families reunite with their children after surgery. They are so grateful for the care we are giving that I can't help feeling nothing but compassion for these people and this country I've only met several days ago. I already can't wait to come back next year!


Molly joined Leanne Espindle, Emerson’s Director of Surgical Services, on a volunteer mission with the Global Smile Foundation to El Salvador in January 2016. Molly, a surgical day care nurse at Emerson, assisted in the recovery room and Leanne worked as an operating room nurse. You can also read Molly's first blog post, "Spreading Smiles in El Salvador".