In Argentina, one in every 500 children is born with a vascular tumor, or a cleft lip or palate. Without corrective surgery, these children have trouble eating, sleeping and speaking. Many of them are tragically ostracized from their communities. Nearly 80% come from poor neighborhoods where malnutrition and polluted drinking water are common, and contribute to the likelihood of birth defects. Most parents cannot afford treatment, and their only other option is to put their child’s name on an endlessly long waiting list at their local hospital. Harry Leibowitz and cleft lip patient Dr. Bennun is changing that system. Since founding Asociación PIEL in 1995, Dr. Bennun — along with a team of doctors, dentists, psychologists and speech therapists — has provided free treatment and surgery for children with devastating birth defects, tumors and other facial deformities.
Asociación PIEL is a non-for profit Civil Association created to support research, prevention, teaching and assistance of patients that suffer from congenital malformations, tumors and serious damages caused by accidents. The association is recognized worldwide for his work, Dr. Ricardo Bennun, the founder of Asociación PIEL, had received the World of Children Health Award in 2007 and in 2015, was honored with the Alumni Award at the inaugural Alumni Honors in Beverly Hills, CA. Unfortunately, in Argentina PIEL is not that well known.