The Lupori family of Steamboat dedicate the funds of their deceased daughter to medical missions

Sisters Caroline Lupori (left) and Ellese Lupori pose with a patient and family after surgery during a 2019 medical mission to central Mexico.
John Lupori / Courtesy photo

Caroline Lupori, from Steamboat Springs, was only 8 years old when she first accompanied her older sister and her doctor father on a medical mission to central Mexico to help children with cleft lip and congenital malformations of the palate.

“She was amazed by the cleft palate disease and the way it affected the children, that they had difficulty eating and speaking,” said Dr John Lupori, the father of Caroline, an oral surgeon. and facial who retired from his local practice in 2018 but continues to practice. trauma surgeries at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center.

Following Caroline’s death while ski touring in Montana last November, her family established the Caroline Mary Lupori Memorial Fund through the Yampa Valley Community Foundation to support causes and organizations important to Caroline. Still working on their grief, the family recently decided to dedicate the memorial fund to help local students interested in medicine join a missionary trip, such as surgical trips to Mexico. These experiences for high school students or above will begin in early 2022.

John has volunteered at a medical clinic based in Monterrey, Mexico called Clinica de Labio y Paladar Hendido for 20 years. The COVID-19 pandemic had halted travel since March 2020, but Lupori’s first post-pandemic trip to Cordoba, Mexico, is scheduled for November 13-20.

Caroline and her older sister, Ellese, who now attend Oregon Medical School, have been on mission trips half a dozen times over the years. The mission serves the indigenous population of the mountains of Mexico, south of Mexico City.

“Caroline helped give food and toys to the children, helped mothers with children before and after surgery, helped out at the clinic as an assistant with preparing supplies for the medical teams and helped with the photos, “her father recalls. “She believed that all of the people, including the doctors, in Mexico were the most dedicated people, and she was amazed at how these people contributed and came together to accomplish these missions.

“She had a better appreciation for what other people have to go through in the world and it felt good to be a part of it. I know she would like this to continue, ”he said.

Ellese, 23, said she remembers the smiles her younger sister brought to the patients she interacted with in Mexico.

“She had such a big heart for young children. She has always been like a child herself, literally and forever, ”said Ellese. “I think she made a lasting impression on them and their families beyond the medical aspect.”

The rate of cleft lip and palate in Mexico is more than double the rate in the United States, John said, and resources in Mexico for major surgeries are far fewer. The birth defect is caused by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors.

On some 35 mission trips over the years with other surgeons, John has helped repair birth defects for hundreds of infants and young children. He said the surgeries are technically challenging, challenging and rewarding because surgeons can repair patients’ birth defects and improve their lives immediately.

Longtime oral and facial surgeon Dr John Lupori in Steamboat Springs poses after surgery with local patient and surgeon Dr Teresa Coronado in 2019 during a medical mission to central Mexico.
Courtesy photo

According to the Mayo Clinic, cleft lip and cleft palate are openings or slits in the upper lip, the roof of the mouth, or both. Cleft lip and cleft palate occur when the facial structures that develop in an unborn baby do not close completely.

An adventurous athlete and artist, Caroline was in her second year of elementary school at Montana State University when she died in a backcountry skiing accident near Bozeman. Less than a month before Caroline’s death anniversary, her father said his family wanted to remember Caroline and thank the community.

Ellese, (L to R) John and Caroline Lupori from Steamboat Springs on a medical mission to Mexico in 2019.
Courtesy photo

“I would like people to know that our family is very grateful for all the support this community has given us throughout the years that we have lived here, for the great support during Caroline’s passing and the great support that they brought to his cause, ”John said.

People who would like to support the medical mission in Mexico can contribute to the private non-profit foundation Claypa-Los Cabos. Donations go directly to transportation, shelter, food and medical supplies needed by patients and their families.

Contributions to the Caroline Mary Lupori Memorial Fund to support local students interested in going on medical missions can be done through the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.

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