Juan Carlos and Jenifer are 6-year-old twins from the Dominican Republic. While Juan Carlos has lived with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) for his entire life—struggling with all of the inherent hardships that this illness brings along the way—Jenifer was lucky enough to not get the disease.
Throughout Juan Carlos’s childhood, he has had issues breathing and speaking, which manifested negatively in his social life and ability to interact and play with his peers. Furthermore, there is the ever-present concern of the heavy stigma associated with HPV around the world that often leads to those infected to be ostracized and isolated due to ignorance and fear.
Evelyn Zablah from OA shows Juan Carlos a photo on her phone.
Briana Peck, a Child-Life Specialist laughs with Juan Carlos.
Given the rare incidence of this case in the presence of HPV in one twin but not the other, Operation Airway (OA) and the Benjamin Harry Peikin Foundation (BHPF) are collecting blood samples to compare and hopefully come one step closer towards finding a vaccine.
Juana, the grandmother of Juan Carlos and Jenifer, had raised the children since they were babies and accompanied them to the US this May when The BHPF and OA flew them to Boston to receive surgery. Juana is extremely happy and grateful to the BHPF and OA, making this trip possible, as well as changing the lives of her grandchildren for the better.
We can’t wait to return to the Dominican Republic in November and see their progress!