Meet the patient: Blanca Evas

329-1-Blanca-EvasTen-year-old Blanca Evas’ older sister passed away when she was only eighteen years old. The loss devastated her family, but they found solace through their earth-based spiritual beliefs; from their understanding, the snow swept her away. Though resolved in their minds, this death’s legacy persisted; it lived on as the first case in a series of medical complications in their family.

MEDLIFE met Blanca at a mobile clinic in 2014 held in Pachamama Grande, Parroquia Tixan, a small village three hours outside of Riobamba, Ecuador. Blanca, like all mobile clinic attendees, was given a standard checkup: doctors checked her blood pressure, heartbeat, height, weight, etc.

However, Blanca’s heartbeat revealed an irregularity, one significant enough to prompt a follow-up investigation. This discovery led MEDLIFE staff to start connecting the dots between Blanca’s case and her family’s medical history.  

MEDLIFE staff and clinic doctors in Riobamba were hyper vigilant about Blanca’s case because of their experience with her four-year-old cousin Norma. Norma is currently a MEDLIFE follow-up patient who recently underwent surgery for a congenital heart condition that, left untreated, would have killed her.

Doctors speculated that Blanca’s irregularity was related to the illness Norma previously suffered from. After further investigation, their fears were confirmed. With the arrival of not one, but two cases of cardiac conditions in this family, doctors hypothesized that Blanca’s older sister most likely passed away from the same, unattended illness.

After confirming Blanca’s condition, MEDLIFE assured her family it was imperative that she saw a cardiologist.  The only thing preventing that, however, was her family’s religious beliefs; they, along with many in their village, do not believe in modern medicine, but rather trust in alternative healing methods.

MEDLIFE staff had expected to encounter this obstacle with Blanca’s family considering the difficulty they had convincing Norma’s parents to allow her go to a hospital. When MEDLIFE approached Blanca’s parents about her condition, they were surprised to learn the parents were already aware of Blanca’s problem and they had already taken measures to resolve it.


A few years ago, Blanca’s family scraped together enough money, along with the aid of a bank loan to bring Blanca to a spiritual healer to cure her condition. The family of ten children put forth all of their economic resources to pay for the spiritual healer. They did not want to lose another daughter. The trip was unfortunately unsuccessful; Blanca’s condition persisted, as well as their debt to the bank. To this day, Blanca’s parents continue to pay off their bank loan slowly with the father’s minimal wages as a farm hand.   

After MEDLIFE’s positive experience with Norma and understanding Blanca’s fatal condition, the organization came forward with an alternative solution to Blanca’s condition: heart surgery. Though Blanca’s father was skeptical at first, he graciously accepted MEDLIFE’s assistance and agreed to let Blanca be seen by a cardiologist.

The cardiologist conducted a few exams and confirmed Blanca’s moderate pulmonary heart disease, and her immediate need for life-saving surgery. Without the surgery, the doctor said Blanca’s condition would eventually lead to death in her sleep.


Blanca finally underwent surgery in the fall of 2014, and MEDLIFE saw her through the entire process, covering the expenses from before the operation to after it.  Blanca’s surgeon is happy to report the operation was a huge success and she has made a full recovery.

Blanca’s next steps will be returning to Quito for follow-up appointments with her surgeon, and continuing to live a normal life. MEDLIFE is happy to have been part of the recovery of another bright young patient!



Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.