Edwardo Gutierrez is a jovial, friendly and brave 10 year old boy from a small farming town a 1/2 hour outside of Cusco, Peru called Pucyura.

He is the oldest of 3 children and is in the 4th grade. He loves Spyder Man, puzzles, computers and playing on the family farm. At the hospital, Edwardo was a hit with the medical team and families as he entertained the other kids waiting for surgeries. He also taught me how to say “Spyder Man” in Spanish, Hombre Arana, and would laugh every time I got it wrong.

Edwardo’s parents did not realize their son was going to be born with both a cleft lip and palate. However, as soon as he was born, he was taken to the hospital for treatment. There, his parents were told that he would need to wait 3 months before he could have his lip repaired due to his size. At 3 months old, he had his lip repaired, and today he is at Cusco Regional Hospital to have his palate repaired after his family heard radio ads promoting the Smile Network International mission.

Since Edwardo had his lip surgery at a young age, he did not endure the suffering that oftentimes accompanies a deformed lip. However, his speech has been affected by the cleft palate and he did endure teasing when he was younger because of this deformity.

Edwardo’s parents are grateful to Smile Network International and excited about the surgery as they know the results will bring better health and quality of life for their son.

I am grateful to Smile Network International for the opportunity to meet this warm, wonderful family and to make a difference in a child’s life.

Written by Natasha Freimark- Smile Network trekker and staffer

Natasha Eduardo