Ana Violeta Lemus has spent most of her life as a wife, mother, and teacher. She has dedicated herself to educating children and spent many years as a second grade teacher. Even after the death of her husband, she felt purpose because her students were waiting for her each day.

Ana’s knees began to fail her. After suffering through the pain for ten years, she regretfully decided that she could no longer teach. She began to rely on her three children to help her around the house and provide her daily needs such as a place to live and food to eat.

Ana found out about Operation Walk through a family who’s mother received a hip surgery from our organization. She felt that this was a ray of hope, that if she could receive knee replacement surgery, she could regain her independence and go back to the job that she loved. Ana traveled over an hour from her coastal town in Guatemala to Antigua to see if she had a chance to qualify for surgery. To her delight, she was chosen to receive the first surgery not only of the day but of our trip to Guatemala.

Dr. Ken Gustke and his team from Tampa, Florida replaced Ana’s right knee successfully and an hour and a half later she was up on her feet. Ana has a very strong work ethic and was ready to start rehabilitation right away. She practiced several times the day of her surgery and was a constant presence in the halls of the hospital the following day. On the morning of the second day after surgery, Ana’s youngest son made the trip to the hospital and Ana declared that it was time to go home. Her doctors and physical therapists agreed and Ana was released. She is thrilled with her progress and knows with some hard work she will be able to return to her second graders this coming January. She thanks the team and those who give to Operation Walk because “they made my dearest wish come true.”