Hilton Head Island, S.C. . . . . Oscar Lopez-Fuentes, a 13-year old boy from Mexico. suffered
very serious burns in a house fire that took the life of his father. No resources were
available to pay for the treatment required to reconstruct his face and arms. Burn scars
(60% of his body) prevent him from extending his right arm and moving his neck; facial
scars affect his breathing. Rotary’s Gift of Life program gives Oscar new hope for returning
to his home with improved function and appearance and with increased confidence in his
Since coming to the U.S. in June, Oscar has had multiple surgeries and is already seeing
major improvements. Dr. Aaron Mason and Dr. David Reid, plastic surgeons, are doing the
reconstructive surgery at Hilton Head Hospital. Oscar is expected to undergo additional
surgeries, returning home some time in October.
Initiated by Dr. Robert Laughlin and Brian Carmines of the Rotary Club of Hilton Head
Island in 1996, the Gift of Life Program now enjoys the support of all five Rotary Clubs
in the Hilton Head/ Bluffton area. The program brings international children and young
adults to Hilton Head for plastic and reconstructive surgery. The goal is to enable
these patients to live a full and productive life, while helping to foster World Peace and
understanding of other cultures.
Priority is given to patients who are unable to secure treatment in their own country and
who need multiple operations to restore mobility, functionality, and the ability for self care.
Travel, housing, food, surgeries, and all related medical services are provided at no cost to
the family through the generosity of host families, medical specialists, Hilton Head Regional
Medical Center, local businesses, and Rotary. The seventeen program recipients to date
have been from Tajikistan, Iraq, the Philippines, El Salvador, and Mexico.
Oscar and Laura Rodriquez, his accompanying nurse, are staying with Bluffton host family,
Silvia and Louis DeLeandro. Antonio Junco, president of the Rotary Club of Texcoco,
Mexico, Oscar’s home town, visited Hilton Head this week and was pleased to see Oscar’s
progress. Anyone interested in providing day trips and outings such as fishing, museums,
arts events, etc. should contact: Dr. Robert Laughlin at 843-0384-9626 or his wife Linda at
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Pictured left to right: Antonio Junco, Laura Bodriquez, Oscar Lopez-Fuentes, Silvia
DeLeandro and Louis DeLeandro.