Who We Are – from Dr. Jorge Rojas Zegers
Over 30 years ago, as a young resident doctor working in Chile, I was heartbroken when I encountered for the first time a young patient that had been severely burned. Because this young girl came from a very poor family, the prognosis for her rehabilitation was grim. My colleagues at the hospital bluntly told me that there was “no hope for someone like her.” The resources needed for her long-term healing were simply non-existent.
I decided I wouldn’t take “No” for an answer and set out instead to find a way to treat this child no matter what it would take. This was no easy undertaking. Burned children are extremely complicated cases because in youths, scar tissue doesn’t grow in the same manner as normal skin. And for severe cases, rehabilitation can take up to 15 years. Despite the complexity of the task, I found that with the implementation of innovative strategies, I was able to treat my first burned child patient successfully.
After this first small victory, I could tell a small shift had taken place inside me. This single event propelled me on a lifelong journey for the rehabilitation of burned children. I found myself wholly driven by a dream many still described as “impossible.” I had a purpose.
My vision was to create a non-profit organization, dedicated to the comprehensive rehabilitation of burned children, offering holistic treatments that involved plastic surgery, physical and psychological therapy—free of charge. I believed in this mission because in my heart I knew people would come together around the cause of helping these children. And I was right.
Today, I’m happy to share with you that our foundation, COANIQUEM, has treated over 100,000 children in South American countries and the Caribbean Islands, thanks to the generous support of our community of donors.
There’s more, though. As you know, knowledge is power, so in order to expand our impact we created an innovative, comprehensive
e-learning program for medical professionals. In addition, we’re releasing year-round prevention and educational campaigns for the general public. And this is only the beginning.
The rehabilitation of burned children is an urgent, global problem and our goal is to continue growing so we can touch more lives.
I urge you to discover more about COANIQUEM and invite you to imagine how you could impact the life of a burned child. As you now understand, this is not for everyone. Because this is such a unique problem, it takes a special type of person to help a burned child.
Helping burned children changed my life forever and for the better. If you’re curious and would like to make a difference, please join us because I promise, it will change your life as well.
Dr. Jorge Rojas-Zegers, MD