Nancy Lijewksi graduated from Lake Michigan College in 1982 and has been a nurse for 30 years. She has worked in NICU, general surgery and spent 10 years working in plastic surgery and reconstruction at Dr. Nicholas Retson’s office in Indiana.

Dr. Retson is also an Esperança volunteer and has completed over 30 surgical missions around the world. “I remember seeing one of Dr. Retson’s presentations about volunteer medical mission trips in the 1990’s, but I had young children at the time so I tucked the information away for a later date, “ recalls Nancy.

Her first trip with Esperança was in 2000 and she has completed nine trips since then to either Bolivia or Nicaragua. In Bolivia, they see lots of burn reconstructions because many of the Bolivian people work over open flames. She recalls a case where five sisters were huddled around a gas stove to stay warm when it exploded and all five girls were badly burned. The doctors often cannot help a burn victim’s appearance, but they can help them functionally by opening scars over their eyes to help them see again.

“I went into medicine because I want to help people,” said Nancy. “The Esperança trips are worthwhile because the people are so grateful for our work and it makes me feel good to know that we are improving their quality of life. These people have very little, but they are so gracious and share with one another.

Thank you, Nancy for helping Esperança and the people of Bolivia and Nicaragua. We appreciate your hard work and commitment to our programs.

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