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Dulce’s Light: The Mission of Helping a Seven Year Old Face the World with a Smile

Close your eyes and imagine going blind right after birth, because of medical negligence. Couple that with a mid-facial cleft, and missing fingers and you have the beginning of a life trials, for a sweet seven-year-old. Thanks to CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare and Operation San Jose mission Dulce’s story doesn’t stop there.

Dulce in post op resting in bed after San Jose mission trip to Puebla, Mexico

Dulce’s parents were unable to afford the cost of the newfound medical needs of their newborn. As a result they did not know where to turn in their hometown of Puebla, Mexico.

History and Mission Trips

Since 1983, CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare in collaboration with Operation San Jose has funded mission trips providing surgical missions to Mexico, Central and South America annually. Each trip provides free surgical repair of cranial and facial birth defects to indigent children. These children are born with cleft lip and palate deformities among other issues. Operation San Jose’s mission to Puebla meant she would get the help she needs.

San Jose to the Rescue

Maria Salazar, Operation San Jose Mission Program Coordinator, arranged for Dulce and her mother to fly to Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Houston. Salazar scheduled medical treatment to repair the left side of Dulce’s face and eye in 2017. Unfortunately, Dulce and her family were unable to come to Houston at that time. On March 3, 21 team members of doctors, interns, anesthesiologists and nurses, headed by Dr. Michael Lypka, flew to Zacupu, Mexico, a six hour car ride from Puebla. Dulce’s family knew she had to be there.

Help from the Catholic Church

With the help of a Catholic Church in Mexico City, Dulce’s mother was able to bring her and her new baby brother to Zacupu to be there for Dulce’s surgery. Thankfully the procedure was successful in decreasing the pain Dulce had grown to know as a constant. She could now close her eyelids without the help of ointments as well. Barring the other needs she has, Dulce is improving each day. She has always had a beautiful soul and been a very happy child. Her recent procedures are allowing her to show it every day.


Dulce Pre op at the clinic in Puebla MexicoOver the course of eight days, the Operation San Jose team operated on 49 patients. Many of the patients had multiple procedures, at no cost to the patient. Each patient and their family, were very appreciative and felt blessed to be able to receive these important procedures to help improve their child’s life.


If you couldn’t see Dulce’s light shine before, you can definitely see it now. Thanks to the medical professionals and others who came to her rescue she has a brighter future.


Your contribution to Operation San Jose goes straight to funding surgical missions to Mexico, Central and South America.  Help these children face the world with a smile by contributing here.


For more information, please contact Cronin Brauer Operation San Jose Coordinator, Maria Salazar at 713-803-1804 or email her at

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