My junior year in high school I discovered I had pectus excavatum (PE), a condition present in one in 400 births that causes the breastbone to be indented or depressed. One of my friends brought to my health teacher’s attention that my chest was sunken. He was a doctor and explained what PE is and that it could be corrected. He also told me about a hospital in the United States that came to the Dominican Republic every year to evaluate kids with orthopaedic conditions like me. He was referring to the amazing Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield, Massachusetts.
When I arrived at the Springfield Shriners Hospital in 2011, I received exceptional loving care. From the volunteer drivers and the front desk person to the amazing hospital nurses and doctors, all treated me with the upmost respect, love and care.
When I returned three years later for my second surgery, the care was as exceptional as I had remembered. Everyone remembered me as if I was there the day before. I truly have the most wonderful memories from this entire experience.
I graduated in the fall of 2016 as a civil engineer. I also teach English as a second language at a school in the Dominican Republic. Thanks to the amazing work of the Springfield Shriners Hospital team, I live a healthy life, exercise regularly and even go out for a 5K run from time to time.
I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to Sandra Morales, Luz Garcia, my amazing surgeon Stanley Konefal, M.D., Jessie Hagerman, and all the amazing nurses who took care of me like family. That is what you become once you go to Shriners Hospitals, family.