In 1996, the late Dr. James Diller visited the Dominican Republic with SRI. While there, he met a young boy named Cristian Montero (left) who was suffering from an encephalocele, a hole in his skull that allowed brain tissue to seep through and become vulnerable. If Cristian were to fall or hit his head near the vulnerable brain tissue, he could’ve died. Knowing this but unable to treat him himself, Dr. Diller went back to the United States. This did not deter him, however, from finding someone who WOULD treat Cristian. After Dr. Diller’s prompting, a neurosurgeon colleague, Dr. Suresh Ramnath from Toledo Hospital, decided he would do the surgery for free in order to save Cristian’s life. In May of 1996, Cristian was flown from the Dominican Republic to Cleveland, OH and then taken to Toledo Hospital where Dr. Ramnath and his team successfully performed the operation to close the hole in Cristian’s skull. While Cristian was in the United States preparing for and recovering from his surgery, he stayed with one of SRI’s dedicated team members, Tamra Yoder Leinbach.
Nearly 22 years later, Tamra unexpectedly had the chance to see Cristian again. Pictured above (right) are Tamra, Cristian, Cristian’s wife, and his six kids. After many years, he accepted Christ and is now living his life for Jesus.
We are so thankful for the influence and legacy Dr. Diller left for SRI and the people of the Dominican Republic. Dr. Diller was not only involved in medical missions, but also donated the money to purchase the land the new clinic is now sitting on. It is amazing to see what God does through the people who choose to serve Him!