Aug 232014

GOL Oscar PhotoHilton 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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Photo attached

Pictured left to right: Antonio Junco, Laura Bodriquez, Oscar Lopez-Fuentes, Silvia

DeLeandro and Louis DeLeandro.

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