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GIVING BACK HEADER
Listen to Ana's story
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There are moments in life that capture our hearts in such a profound way, that we’re never the same. Dreams come true. Tragedies strikes. Curve balls are thrown. And sometimes, in a single instant, we catch ourselves amidst the joy and sorrow of existence at the exact same time. Such was the case during a mission trip I attended with Faith in Practice.

That’s when I met her… Ana.

She caught my eye amidst the sea of folks waiting at Las Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro Hospital in Antigua, Guatemala. At 4’8”, she didn’t stand out because of her height. It wasn’t even because her knees were contorted in such a way that it made my own knees begin to hurt. It was that, despite her obvious pain, you could see her warrior spirit radiating from beneath her brown eyes.

She was determined to see a doctor, regardless of how long it kept her waiting. She’d already made the three hour trip here, so another couple of hours wasn’t going to rob her of her chance to receive help.

Her perseverance paid off as the doctor finally called her back. I’ll admit, I was even a bit excited that her time had come. I’d wanted to talk to her, but my limited ability to speak Spanish dwarfed that possibility. I was thankful that the Faith in Practice volunteer I stood beside took mercy on me and served as my translator.

Her story wasn’t entirely unique to many third-world citizens. She was abandoned as a child. Lived alone her entire adult life. Suffered through extreme pain for years as she waited to find somebody who was willing and able to help her travel here today.

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Later when Ana was asked what kept her going, she replied, “Hope”.

Unwilling to become another statistic, Ana never gave up hope that things would come around. She would find help. She would one day be pain-free. She would one day have the life she knew was possible.

Unfortunately, today was not that day and Ana’s ability to persevere would be tested yet again. She was informed that she was not chosen to receive additional medical care during this trip. Disappointed, but not without hope, Ana thanked the doctor for his time and returned home.

It would be five months before our next mission trip to Antigua. Not a day went by that I didn’t think of Ana and how she was doing. I was relieved when I heard Ana’s contagious smile had again greeted my colleague in the waiting room.  This time, the evaluating doctor determined that Ana had significant need. However, she was so small, it would be hard to find a knee implant that would fit her stature.

Zimmer Biomet team members attending Ana's second visit, were confident collaborating with the attending Faith in Practice surgeons would ensure a solution specific to Ana's need - with the hope of Ana not walking away with another no. Over the next four months, our Zimmer Biomet Team Members worked closely with the Faith in Practice surgeons. We reviewed X-rays, discussed her case and the challenges that lie ahead, we talked with other healthcare professionals. In the end, we came up with what we felt was an appropriate solution.

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As my colleague traveled back to Antigua while I remained in-state, I could barely contain my excitement knowing that this time Ana was going to receive her first total knee replacement. For years, Ana searched for an end to her suffering. She was now half way there, and knew that, in a matter of two months, her other knee would be replaced as well. Her perseverance and determination had paid off.

When all was said and done, Ana was so overjoyed that she wandered the halls of the hospital, singing. Once the source of pain and suffering, her legs now would help her fulfill her life’s passion. “I want to help others as I was helped,” she said. This mighty Guatemalan stole the hearts of many, including my own.

I don’t know if we fully realize the impact that we, at Zimmer Biomet, have on people’s quality of life. In the case of Ana, we changed her life. From being abandoned and alone, to waiting a lifetime for someone to help ease her physical pain... we were part of the team that did it. That’s an amazing thing.

The commitment, collaboration, and, quite frankly, pure love demonstrated by those working on this project was overwhelming. What a privilege it is to be part of a company whose mission is to alleviate pain and improve the quality of lives around the world… like Ana’s.

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