Apr 6, 2012

A Deanna Update

Do you remember in January when I did THIS post about little Deanna from Limes and her need for a prosthetic eye?  Well, I haven't forgotten about her.  How could I? I see that sweet little face every week in class.  But I didn't want to update everyone until the whole story was complete.

Here are a few pictures of sweet Deanna from when we first met.  Most of us volunteers call her Dede.


Fairly soon after my last post about Deanna and her need to travel to the USA for an eye procedure, we found out that unfortunately, the doctor in Florida decided to bail from the case.  It is still unknown exactly why the doctor did so, but it was of course a huge blow to all of us, the least of which was Jill, Deanna's mother.  And so began a process of trying to find an alternative method to fixing the problem. 

We were in the beginning stages of seeking out a second doctor when low and behold, an SO's mother who just HAPPENS to be a pediatric opthamologist and just HAPPENED to be coming to Grenada during the first week of February stepped forward to help.  She looked at pictures of Deanna and thought from pictures that what Deanna really needed was a prosthetic eye.  A mold would need to be done and taken to the US where an ocularist could then create a prosthetic eye to match that of Deanna's other eye.

Everything kind of fell into place and I know that it was definitely a God thing.

So in February, I took Dede and Jill to the clinic at SGU where a magnificent doctor and her trusty sidekick optometrist turned medical student John helped make a mold of Deanna's eye.  It wasn't a particularly fun experience.  At 1 and a half years old, Dede wasn't exactly thrilled to have people shoving putty into her eye, but she did really well all things considered.

Me, Jill, Dede, Dr. C, and John (The Grenada Team)
 Dr. C also brought down a "spacer" for Deanna's eye.  A plastic cup that is inserted into her eye socket to start holding the space for her prosthesis.  This way, she could start getting used to something being there.  Here's Dede at Limes with her spacer in over the last month.

This past week, we finally received the new prosthesis.  We arranged to meet at the clinic again and poor Dede already knew what was coming.  The moment we walked into the clinic she immediately covered her eye and started crying.  I didn't take any pictures at the clinic because she was so upset and we needed all the help we could get to hold her down to put in the prosthetic.  It wasn't easy, but we finally did it.

Yesterday at Limes marked the culmination of a long but very fufilling process.  Deanna came out to Limes yesterday and though there is a little swelling from the insertion process, I think it would be very hard to tell that this little girl's eye is not real if you didn't already know otherwise.  Yes, something looks a little off.  It won't ever be perfect.  But I know that her life has been forever changed.  Her mom can send her to school without worrying so much that she will be teased and she is now at a much lower risk for infection.  I love that I was blessed with the opportunity to be a little part of this process and I love that I get to spend afternoons every week with this child and all the other precious Limes children.

This post would not be complete without a huge thank you to all that were involved, specifically Amber Gazo, Kelsey Coghill, Dr. C, Cat Alford, and John Martinelli.  This was not only a team effort, but a multi-country effort!  I wish that all of you could be here to see her. 

To everyone that donated money to this cause, most of the money was used to pay the ocularist for the prosthetic eye in Louisiana.  Custom made prosthetics are pricey!  And actually, we paid for two!  Deanna's cousin Kylie has the same exact problem. And we were able to help her as well.  So I just want to say thank you.  We couldn't have made this happen without all of your support.
Me, Kylie, and mom Cindy.  Can you tell which one is the prosthetic?
These little girls stories aren't finished.  As they grow, new prosthetics will have to be made and those of us inolved will do what we can to help see that through, but for now we are very happy with the outcome.  It's a good day when you can so drastically help to change someone's, or two someone's lives for the better.


  1. Way to go "Team Grenada" That is so cool! She looks beautiful!

  2. Thank you Steph for the write up - looks really good :)

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  4. Hats off to all the SO's who helped Deanna and Kylie. As wives of future physicians you have already shown the hearts and souls of living a generous life. The most satisfying feeling is helping make someone else's life better. I am honored to have been a part of this little miracle. Thank you.

  5. I'm sure Deanna, Kylie, and their moms will never forget the kindnesses you have all shown them.

    I think God is smiling and giving everyone who was involved in this effort the thumbs up!

    Steph's Mom