The Longest Journey
500km in 1 1/2 months for cleft surgery
Veracruz, Mexico — Pedro and Griselda traveled with their children over 500km in 1 1/2 months to fix their son's cleft lip.
They packed as much as they could into their tricycle and set off to find help for Chema.
All parents know that they would do anything for their children — Pedro and Griselda Hernandez are no exception and have proven how far they will go for their children. When Chema, their third child, was born with a bilateral cleft lip, Pedro and Griselda knew that they had to find a way to get him the help he needed.
They heard that Smile Train provided free cleft surgery and were determined to find our partner no matter the cost. A few months after the birth of their fourth child, Carmela, they packed as much as they could into their tricycle and set off to find help for Chema. They padded the tricycle so that the children, Ingrid, Pedro, Chema, and Carmela, could sit comfortably in it, and left their home behind.
For a month and a half and with Griselda at his side, Pedro pushed his children in the tricycle. The days wore on, as did the miles they traveled on their way from the state of Tabasco to Veracruz. Using what little money they had for food, they pressed on, holding on to hope and each other.
When they arrived in Veracruz, they found food, shelter, and, above all, Smile Train partner CLAPYA. Expert cleft surgeon Dr. Abelardo Arizpe was shocked to hear how far they had come and the entire medical team immediately fell in love with playful and happy Chema. With his father patiently waiting outside, Chema received free cleft lip surgery. The hospital arranged for transporation home so that the tired, but cheerful family would not have to make the harrowing trip again. When the stitches heal, Chema's new smile will light up the faces of everyone he meets.
Chema and his younger sister will never remember their travels, but the love their family has for each other will surround them everywhere they go. For now, Pedro, Griselda and their children can rest easily knowing that their long journey is finally complete.
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