Cary surgeon fixes smiles during 'most gratifying' trip to Africa
Posted November 27, 2013
Cary, N.C. — A Cary surgeon gave about 90 people a reason to smile recently when she traveled to Africa and performed surgeries to fix their cleft lips and palates, a congenital illness that leaves people’s mouths disfigured.
“They’re considered cursed, possessed by evil spirits. They’re picked on. As an adult, they can’t get a job. They’re abused,” said Cynthia Gregg, a facial/cosmetic surgeon.
Gregg traveled to South Sudan a few weeks ago with a team from Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse to provide the facial surgery for people who don’t have health care. She and six other U.S. doctors worked 12-hour days.
“We did 90 surgeries in six days. The year before, 78. The year before that, 41. We just made a dent,” Gregg said. “It’s a life-changing event for them, and it takes an hour and a half of my time. It’s hard to put into words how tremendous that is.”
Missionary pilots donated their time to fly the patients to a hospital where Gregg and the team were waiting.
“I love what I do, but this trip is the most gratifying of my life,” Gregg said.