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Tonmoy, a 13-year-old boy from Dhaka, was unable to raise his arms because of burns he received as a small boy. A few years ago, ReSurge surgeons restored his functionality. Now, he is back to living the life of "a normal boy," as he puts it. When we saw him in May, he wanted to thank the doctors who helped him.
An Emotional Return to India
Dehradun, India
By Nisha Chaudry, ReSurge volunteer coordinator/translator

I've been looking forward to returning to Dehradun because I would finally get the opportunity to revisit the patients ReSurge treated in 2009. I have often wondered how our former patients' lives were changed after my initial visit.

On clinic day, many of those patients returned to share with us how they were doing now. It's been comforting to see how much happier and confident they are today.

After my first trip to Dehradun, I didn't fully understand how the surgeries our team provided would make a difference. Four years later, seeing the impact of those surgeries has been immensely gratifying.

One of the patients I met again was Prachi. In 2009, ReSurge's surgeons operated on Prachi's legs, which had become fused together due to a burn contracture after Prachi accidentally stepped over a lantern and her dress engulfed in flames. Back then, Prachi couldn't do the most basic tasks like walk, attend school and play with her peers. One surgery completely changed her life.

Today, Prachi goes to school and actively participates in sports. It's unbelievable how one procedure changed the trajectory of her life. When I first saw Prachi again, we both hugged and we instantly started crying together. I think all the emotions we shared four years ago were present in our hearts. The pain she was living in when I first met her, the anxiety of her surgery, the frustration of the healing process and the joy of her first steps after surgery—it all rushed back to us. Now, four years later, we were meeting again. Prachi was in a better place physically and emotionally, and all we could do was cry.

After talking to a few of our former patients, I couldn't help but notice how much happier they all appear. It's been nice to see how they are all looking forward to living out their lives.

I am leaving Dehradun knowing that we do more than just repair bodies; we truly heal our patients at an emotional level. We are making a lasting impact in their lives and I am thankful to be a part of it all.

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Severe burns remain a neglected health crisis in developing countries, particularly among poor women and children. Learn more about the staggering scope and solutions.