Imagine having surgery to repair a hole in the front of your skull that endangers your brain. Now imagine that you’re in a foreign country, where you are just beginning to learn the language. And that you have traveled to that country alone, without your family. Also imagine you are just 5 years old.
That’s exactly the situation Aydin Cumatzil-Tun was in. But with his highly contagious grin, the boy needs no words to communicate that instead of feeling adrift and anxious about his travels and his life-saving surgery, he feels buoyed and supported by many people.
There’s his family back home in Guatemala, whom he talks to by phone as often as possible. There are his host parents in New Jersey, who have welcomed Aydin into their family and cared for him as their own child during his stay. And there’s pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Richard Anderson, who performed the repair that protects Aydin’s brain.
Dr. Anderson is known for his expertise in repairing the type of hole Aydin was born with, called an encephalocele. He is also known for his expertise in putting kids and their families at ease in what can be a very frightening time.
To find out more about Dr. Anderson, see his bio page here.