Dr. Fred Deleyiannis is a UCHealth plastic surgeon we introduced you to in May in Your Healthy Family. Dr. Deleyiannis specializes in repairing traumatic injury and correcting birth defects. This week Dr. Deleyiannis is heading to Guatemala on a mission of mercy.
It’s a trip Dr. Deleyiannis says is very close to his heart. “We do an annual trip for ear reconstruction to Guatemala and this is done for children that are born without ears. The typical diagnosis is something called microtia, which really means that the ear is absent at birth or malformed. The procedure itself involves removing a number ribs (from the patient) and carving them into the shape of an ear, and then providing that reconstruction to the children.”
Now Dr. Deleyiannis travels to Guatemala with the help of the John Lester Foundation a newer non-profit based in Colorado. The foundation was the dream of John, who passed away in 2016 after a 5 year battle with skin cancer. John’s son Connor is the executive director of the foundation who has helped make his father’s dream a reality.
Connor says, “The foundation is really an inspiration to honor my father. Before he passed away in august of 2016, as he was battling skin cancer he went through many reconstructive surgeries. For my dad’s situation, he had a wife a couple kids that loved him no matter what. He just wanted to feel better and play some golf. But when you’re a kid and you have to have theses big reconstructive surgeries it matters a lot. That was the inspiration behind the foundation.”
John’s love of family life and golf lives on through the foundation’s now annual and so far very successful charity golf tournament. The Johnnie Be Good Invitational held at the Glenmoor Country Club in a southern Denver suburb, sold out this year in just 2 days.
Conner says, “June 18th, is the day after father’s day, so that will be a pretty special the day we will celebrate my dad. We (The JL Foundation) really started about a year and a half ago and we’re hoping to have raised half a million dollars by the end of this year. We’ve been able to help 16 kids down in Guatemala, we’re hoping to get to over 30 by the end of this year.”
A legacy Connor’s father would be very proud of that his entire family, and the community is making a reality. You can help out the John Lester Foundation that helps kids all across Colorado, the U.S. and abroad, by donating anytime on their website.