In 1962, Elvis Maduro was born in Manhattan with a cleft lip and palate. At that time, cleft surgery was far from routine. However, Elvis counts himself lucky to have been born in the U.S., where his family had easier access to the procedure than those in most other parts of the world. Today, roughly five billion people still lack equitable access to surgery — a critical issue that ReSurge International works diligently to solve.
Elvis was able to undergo a successful cleft surgery as a child, and today, he is happily retired and enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons. Elvis also gives back with a monthly gift to ReSurge International. Recently, Elvis took the time to talk with us about his reasons for giving. Learn more about his experience as a ReSurge donor below.
What motivated you to become a ReSurge International donor?
I wanted to support an organization that was doing on-the-ground work to support cleft surgery. When I looked into it, I found that ReSurge was one of the main groups doing that, so I started giving, and I started asking for the chance to volunteer, too.
After a little while, I made myself a bit of a pest to the people at ReSurge [Elvis laughs]. I was still very interested in being hands-on with the cause — I wanted to volunteer and help out. Eventually, ReSurge sent me to Peru in November 2011 to work as an interpreter. That was quite the experience. I was blown away by how the surgeons give so much of their time to change lives. They are truly angels. When I saw their work firsthand, it really elevated my enthusiasm for ReSurge.
How do you feel when you see the impact of your donation?
Well, it makes me feel even more grateful for what I have. I love seeing this level of care being passed on to future generations. It makes me feel great.
What aspect of ReSurge International’s work resonates with you the most?
I think what really resonates with me the most is the surgeons, nurses, and all the supporting medical staff as well as the non-medical support team who take time out of their busy lives to really help other human beings — and at no cost to those patients and their families. They’re using their God-given talents to help give someone a normal life.
Can you share any personal experiences or connections that have influenced your decision to give?
Beyond my experience with cleft surgery as a kid, I just really like seeing the mission continue. I also really enjoy seeing the pictures that come in the mail and reading the newsletter because they really show the impact ReSurge is making. I also like that they’re passing the knowledge forward to surgeons in the communities ReSurge works in around the world and teaching them how to perform those surgeries to help local people.
How do you hope your contributions will impact the future of ReSurge International and the communities it serves?
I just hope they continue to do what they’re doing. I hope they continue to grow the worldwide knowledge base for surgeons and limit the number of kids who have to live without cleft surgery. I hope they’re able to operate on more and more kids right after birth or early in life so they don’t have to experience the stigma and being looked at by others the way I know some are.
What would you say to someone who is considering donating to ReSurge International?
I would share my experience and encourage them to learn more on the ReSurge International website. I’ve actually done that several times — when people ask me about donating to organizations that work in reconstructive surgery, I encourage them to donate to ReSurge because they’re on the ground doing the work. I’m very thankful to ReSurge for what they do for complete strangers all around the world.
Thanks to donors like Elvis, ReSurge International is able to provide care to thousands of patients each year and support training for surgeons who help answer the worldwide need for reconstructive surgery. If you’re interested in making a monthly gift to ReSurge, visit our donation page to get started.