Meet the Patient: Isaí Cañi Basillo

Isaí Cañi Basillo is 4 years old and lives with his parents and two brothers in the district of Villa Maria del Triunfo in Lima.  Isaí has a cleft palate and suffers from Apert syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by the premature fusing together of skull bones, fingers and toes during pregnancy.  A cleft palate can cause problems with speaking and feeding, whilst Apert syndrome can lead to impeded movement and slowed intellectual development.  Before Isaí’s birth, his parents had recently settled in a new house in Villa Maria del Triunfo to enable them to work, be close to their parents and start a family of their own.  When his mother, Maria, was pregnant with Isaí she was told all was ok and he was going to be a healthy child like his elder brother.  It wasn’t until Maria was approaching her due date that she was warned there may be some abnormalities with the pregnancy.   

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Following Isaí’s birth, it became clear that he was suffering; his hands and feet were webbed and there were some abnormalities also with the structure of his skull and face.  Isaí spent his first few months in a children’s hospital where he was given the medication and treatment necessary for his condition.  He was then treated at another hospital for a year where he was diagnosed with sindactilia- the webbing of hands and feet, related to Apert syndrome.  Maria told us of the struggle her son’s condition created for her:

“From the moment I first held my child I knew he was a gift from God.  However, it was also a shock for me. I was thankful to God for the child I had been given but I was also worried that people would be embarrassed about him and the way he looked”.  Maria described how she would love for Isaí to be able to have the same movement and freedoms as his brothers which is what an operation would allow.  However, she also told us how she worries as she sees Isaí growing and knows what treatment he needs, but her and her husband cannot afford to pay for it.  “All I want is my son and I want to be able to give him the movement and independence that I have and that his brothers all have”.

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After meeting Isaí and his mum at a mobile clinic last April, MEDLIFE funded Isaí’s first surgery on his cleft palate and everything went well.  Isaí’s feeding and speaking processes have improved and he has even started going to school.  He has another appointment with our doctors scheduled for July and if all goes well he may have his next surgery for the palate as early as August.  After the second surgery, Isaí will need to wait one year before he can have the operation for Apert syndrome which will allow the webbing of his hands and feet to be fixed to enable improved movement.  If the surgery goes well it will lead to a new start for Isaí and his family, who will no longer be restricted by his disability.  It will also allow his mother’s wish of giving him the same movement and freedoms as his brothers to become a reality.  



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.