35 patients received sight restoring surgeries during the two-day clinic with 22 additional surgeries scheduled a week later.
 
The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise partnered with the Rotary Club of Celaya Nat-Tha-Hi for a cataract surgical clinic held at Clinica Beatriz Velazco de Aleman in Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico on June 24-25, 2022. 35 patients received sight restoring surgeries during the two-day clinic with 22 additional surgeries scheduled a week later due to health and other issues.  
 
LuzMaria Ortiz, E. Russell Smith, and Maria Long from the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise and Steve Petersen and Don Jack from the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara traveled to Celaya to assist with this project. Volunteer Rotarians performed various activities such as transportation, check-in patients, visit with families of patients, assist nursing staff with supplies and pre-operative preparations, and assist surgical staff with patients.
 
Don, Steve and E. Russell transported patients to the operating room and recovery room. Maria sanitized sheets and prepared the beds for each patient.
 
Santa Barbara Rotarians were greeted with a grand welcome reception at the home of a member of Rotary Club of Celaya Nat-Tha-Hi and a celebration dinner held at the completion of the project. LuzMaria presented two Paul Harris Fellow recognitions on behalf of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise to Nat-Tha-Hi club President Adriana Rivera and Dorita Medina, the clinic coordinator and contact for the volunteer’s visit to Celaya.
 
It was a pleasant surprise to learn the clinic’s surgeon Dr. Irusteta’s daughter is also an ophthalmologist and participated in the campaign – she is only 29 years old. Of the seven ophthalmologists, five of them were women. The female surgeons replaced – at least this year - the older doctors who have participated in the surgeries in the past.
 
Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International, a non-profit humanitarian organization that provides medical, surgical and educational services, provided volunteer ophthalmic surgeons for the two-day clinic.
 
Untreated cataracts create grave social and economic distress within the family unit. The affected person loses his capacity to participate productively with his family. Individuals receiving timely treatment for cataracts increase their annual productivity exponentially. Patients treated within this program represent the most financially challenged population in this region. The surgeries have no cost to the patient.
 
The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise has a long and successful relationship with the Rotary Club of Celaya Nat-Tha-Hi and SEE International collaborating on cataract surgery missions for over 25 years.
 
 
 
   
 
   
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
Photos courtesy of LuzMaria Ortiz and Maria Long.
View more photos here.