OLYMPIA, WA- When Maria Perez of Huanuco, Peru turned 18 and still had small breasts her parents did not know what to do. “We were just so afraid that she would suffer from this affliction her whole life” Carlos Perez, the now 20 year old’s father said.
Luckily for the Perez family, and the families of many other young women from Central Peru, a group of dedicated physicians from Cowlitz Plastic Surgery volunteer their expertise for 10 days every year to perform breast augmentations for women who have little or no access to these much needed operations. “Thanks to the work of Dr. Heine and his team our daughter can live a happy and fulfilled life” says Perez.
These mission trips after started when Dr. Samuel Heine visited Huanuco on a vacation in 2009. “It was impossible to be there and ignore the suffering that I saw all around me. In any first world country if you have small breasts you get the medical care that you need. I just couldn’t accept that it should be any different there”.
Since 2010, when their first mission trip occurred, Heine and his colleagues have performed over 400 breast augmentations for those in need.
“It’s just been amazing to get to go back year after year and see the difference that these augmentations have made in people’s lives” says Heine. “I remember this one young woman who we treated in 2011. At that time she was unmarried, unemployed and had no future ahead of her. When we saw her again in 2014 she was already on her second marriage, and was already courting a third, more wealthy, man. It is incredible to see the positive change that our work can do for these women“.
Never satisfied with his impact on the world, Heine currently has plans to expand these mission trips to other parts of the world. “Just last year I was in Cambodia with my brother and we saw countless women who were desperately in need of breast augmentation surgery. It just makes you realize that no matter how many operations we perform, there will always be another woman in need of a new chest.”