Today our team grows from 18 trekkers and 4 Smile staffers to an additional 8 trekkers and 13 medical providers.
The second wave of trekkers arrived Tuesday evening and will repeat the journey of the last group hiking to the famed Machu Pichu built by the Incans hundreds of years ago. This group of adventurous souls totals eight. They range in age from 9 to 56. Brothers Dane and Jude (9 and 11) will trek with their parents Carrie and Chad and their cousin David. David is a Sophomore at Front Range Community College in Brighton Colorado. Carrie and Chad work in the financial planning and banking business in Minneapolis. They are joined by best friends Shelia who works in legal affairs and Lisa Anderson a non-profit consultant. Joshua Rimpila rounds out the group.
Joshua told us the trek on the Inka Trail was a means to meet the children served by Smile Network. That is the main reason he says he is here. This is a very personal journey for Josh who was also born with a cleft.
These adventurous souls are in Peru to raise awareness for the hundreds of children in Peru who suffer as social outcasts because of their cleft deformities. Our trekkers will have the opportunity to meet the children whose surgeries are funded by the money they have raised to participate in this trek. One hundred percent of the $80,000 they have raised directly underwrites the cost of surgeries.
We have met with the regional government officials who have told us they have pre-registered over 100 children for this campaign. Over the course of the next week, two surgical teams will operate on over fifty children in five days free of charge. Sadly, many of the children will be turned away because the need is far greater than the resources.