I was six years old when Dr. Craig Hobar performed the first cleft repair surgery on me. The entire LEAP team treated me like we were friends. I remember feeling very safe under their care, like nothing bad could ever happen. Dr. Hobar and his team also performed surgery on my mother and two brothers (pictured left). The connection I have with LEAP is special even now, years after my last surgery.
Now at the age of 30, LEAP has an important place in my heart and my mind. It is part of me and who I’ve become in the personal and professional aspects of my life. After being a LEAP patient, I was inspired to become a doctor and focus on surgery. It has been a wonderful journey. My family is truly grateful for the loving treatment we’ve received through the years.
Dr. Mei-Lin Joa is a physician at Centro de Otorrinolaringología in Santo Domingo and Academia de la Fuerza Aerea in San Isidro, Dominican Republic. She recently got married and is expecting her first child.