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prevention International magazine for oral health No. 1, 2018

years and support the non-profit children’s charity Plan International. Uwe Meyer is a member of the board of manufacturer of medical devices EMS based in Nyon in Switzerland, known for its brands AIRFLOW and PIEZON. In coordination with the aid organisation, the couple visited their godchild Diana in January 2011 to do more for the girl. At the village school, they both noticed a girl who constantly hid her chin with both hands. Her name was Guisela Ccanihua, 16 at the time, four years older than her classmates, but smaller and more delicate. When the Meyers approached the girl and spoke to her, they were shocked with her appearance. Two hours to eat a roll Guisela could have had a happy childhood, but an ac- cident changed everything. When she was 4, she slipped while tending sheep, fell on her chin and broke both temporomandibular joints. The first aid station 4 hours’ walk away merely stopped the bleeding, but did not pro- vide any further treatment. The fracture healed poorly, causing inhibited mandibular growth and the adhesion of the temporomandibular joints. As the years passed, her ability to open her mouth became increasingly re- stricted. Ultimately, this was limited to 5 mm. It took her 2 hours to eat a soft roll. The girl’s face was severely deformed and asymmetrical, and she suffered from mal- occlusion and severe respiratory problems. Daily oral hygiene was out of the question. The child’s family hid her for a long time, but in the end, she started school, albeit four years late. Back in Germany, the Meyers considered how they might help the girl. As time passed, the memories of Guisela remained. One night in 2011, orofacial and orthodontic spe- cialist Dr Konrad Wangerin was interviewed by the SWR, a regional public broadcasting corporation serving the south-west of Germany, about new temporomandibular joint treatments and the work of his sponsoring asso- ciation, Förderverein Faziale Fehlbildungen [foundation for facial malformations]. Wangerin is one of the world’s leading specialists in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery. His association has been giving children all over the world new faces since 1997. All the treating doc- tors waive their fees, with sponsors and donations cov- ering the costs. The donations arrive in full where they are needed, and even the administration is performed by volunteers. One night, Uwe Meyer, unable to sleep, was skip- ping through the channels and happened to see a rerun of the interview with Wangerin. Insomnia is rarely con- sidered a boon, but fate evidently intervened in this instance. Meyer called Wangerin and told him about Guisela. The Stuttgart-based specialist said that he might be able to help her, but would have to take a look at her himself. This is exactly the man I’m looking for, Meyer thought after the call. As luck would have it, Wangerin was planning a trip to a convention in Chile and would make a stopover in Cuzco. He and Meyer met for the first time in a hotel on the out- skirts of town. It was 5.30 p.m. on 24 October 2011 when Guisela met the maxillofacial surgeon too. The diagnosis did not take long: post-traumatic ankylosis and a total restriction of mandibular mobility. The ends of the lower jaw had fractured, causing the entire posterior region of the jaw to ossify—an exceptionally difficult and very rare case even by European standards. And yet, Wangerin was able to and had to help Guisela. “Otherwise she would have been permanently limited to a liquid diet and her ability to communicate would have been disrupted for life,” said Wangerin, looking back. While self-motivation, instruction and recall can change the oral health of western European patients, it was fate and coincidence that changed this Peruvian girl’s life. Potato graters and organ theft Barely three months later, Guisela and her mother, Lorenza, landed in Germany. Their arrival soon attracted the attention of the local press. A Peruvian woman liv- ing nearby cooked for and spoke with Guisela and her mother. A Spanish-speaking speech therapist got in touch and a psychologist was already there to help Guisela in the clinic. Wangerin’s team opted to perform the surgery at the Paracelsus hospital in Ostfildern-Ruit near Stuttgart. The entire time, Guisela and her mother stayed on the Bastendorfs’ farm in Eislingen between Stuttgart and Ulm. While her daughter was undergoing treatment, Lorenza learned new recipes, better ways to cultivate the family’s potatoes, and about the respectful interaction between men and women. Sometimes a potato grater is all it takes to permanently improve a person’s life. special | m o c . k c c o o t t s r e t t u h S / S 0 8 8 7 7 A A © u r e e P P prevention 1 2018 73

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