Dianne Altuna is a speech-language pathologist who exemplifies the ideal LEAP volunteer by selflessly giving her time, talent, and dedication. Dianne has been on numerous mission trips with LEAP, both as a volunteer and as a trip co-leader. Dianne is also an amazing instructor who takes the time to teach our patients, patients’ families, and other volunteers on our mission trips.
Although she has traveled with other mission organizations, Dianne’s experiences with LEAP are special to her. “One of the things that stands out for me is the daily devotionals. We start each day in a faith-centered practice. I believe it makes a tremendous difference on the quality of the trip.”
Dianne always takes the opportunity to educate patients and their families in support of the medical care they receive. One particular memory that stands out for Dianne is of a mother and her baby in Zimbabwe. “There was a little baby named Believe. Believe was too small for surgery for his cleft lip.” As a consequence of his cleft lip, Believe had trouble feeding from a bottle, leading to delays in development. Believe stayed on the pediatric ward for several days so his mother could learn how to feed him properly. “He put on weight, and more importantly, I saw his mother grow and develop the ability to care for her baby. When you give the tools to a mother to care for her baby, you get to watch her blossom as a mom.”
When asked what it is like volunteering on each trip, Dianne had just one word: “Fun!” Dianne has a lot of respect for the dedication and compassion of every volunteer. “Each member of the LEAP team brings their incredible strengths, not only in their career as a doctor or nurse but in the ability to share, to embrace this experience, and to love one another. I’m always amazed at the love among the team members.”
Let’s wish Dianne a happy birthday on May 7 and thank her for all the gifts she brings to LEAP!